Agua Azul is one of the most popular waterfalls in Chiapas which can be visited on a day trip from Palenque

Agua Azul Chiapas – One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Mexico (2023)

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Agua Azul is a gorgeous waterfall in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Famous for its vibrant turquoise water, it’s a place that has to be on your Chiapas itinerary.

These waterfalls are formed by the Shumuljá River, which cascades down a series of limestone steps, creating a sequence of beautiful waterfalls and pools. The minerals in the water give the waterfall a mesmerizing blue color – trust me, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen!

Translated as “Blue Water” from Spanish, this place is a popular day trip from Palenque, and you can explore the area by walking along the trail that leads to different viewpoints.

The most popular places to visit in Chiapas


The area has several natural pools where you can swim and cool off in the water. It’s one of the most popular Chiapas waterfalls, and there are normally a lot of visitors, so be a good steward, and leave it as beautiful as you found it!

Agua Azul is a popular day trip from Palenque which can be visited by car, by guided tour or public transport

Where is Agua Azul Mexico?

Agua Azul is a multi-tiered turquoise waterfall in the state of Chiapas, near the border of Mexico and Guatemala. It’s located within the municipality of Tumbalá, about 64 kilometers (40 miles) from Palenque. The area is part of the larger Cascadas de Agua Azul Natural Park, made up of a series of waterfalls and natural pools formed by the namesake river.

Why visit Agua Azul?

It’s one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Chiapas where you can swim, take photos and try traditional Chiapas dishes in one of the restaurants along the waterfalls. It’s also one of the easiest waterfalls to visit in Chiapas, because you can get here by public transportation or guided tour.

The best tours of Palenque from San Cristobal De Las Casas also include stops at waterfalls Misol Ha and Agua Azul


You can rent a car, take a colectivo from Palenque or take a guided tour. Most tourists also visit Misol-Há, another popular waterfall with the entrance along the same road.

By colectivo

If you are on a budget, take a colectivo (small shared van) from downtown Palenque. You will need to get a colectivo to Ocosingo, which depart about every 30 minutes once they are full.

How much is a colectivo from Palenque to Agua Azul?

A colectivo from Palenque costs about costs 50 Pesos ($2.50) per person.

If you plan to take a colectivo, leave early morning. Ask your driver to drop you off at the bus stop, and try learn at least a few words in Spanish ahead of your trip, because it’s unlikely that a local bus driver will speak English.

➡️ Check out my top tips for visiting Mexico

Once you get dropped off, you will need to get to the entrance of the waterfall, which is another 10 minutes by car!

The best way to visit Agua Azul waterfalls in Chiapas is by renting a car

When I visited this place by colectivo from Palenque, I paid 200 Pesos to a local taxi driver to get to the entrance of the waterfalls from the bus stop. This was a huge bummer, but I had no choice simply because there was no other way to get to the waterfalls from the bus stop.

How to get back to Palenque?

To get back to Palenque, you need to wait at the same spot where you were dropped off, just on opposite side of the road. As soon as you see a colectivo, you need to flag it down and ask if they are going to Palenque.

How long does it take to get from Palenque to Agua Azul?

While taking public transportation from Palenque is a great way to save money, it’s also the slowest way, which takes about 1,5 hours. Colectivos make frequent stops in many villages along the way and the road is winding and has many speed bumps.

A popular day trip from Palenque that's often viisted with Misol-Ha waterfalls and Palenque ruins


  • Always have enough cash – Bring no less than 500 Pesos, so you have enough to pay for transport, entrance, and grab some food, if you get hungry.
  • Don’t forget that you also need to pay for the colectivo to get back to Palenque – All Palenque buses stop at the same place where you get dropped off, and you will need to flag them down when you see one passing.
  • Colectivos to Palenque often run on a very irregular schedule – even though the driver might give you a certain hour, it’s not a guarantee that it’s going to show up at this specific time.

✅ That’s why I recommend taking a guided tour that also combines a visit to the Misol-Ha waterfall and Palenque ruins.

This is a good option if you are traveling by yourself, don’t speak much Spanish, or want more comfort, instead of trying to figure out all the logistics by yourself.

By car

The best way to get to this waterfall is by renting a car. You can rent a car in Tuxtla Guttierez, Cancun, Tulum, or any other major destination in the region.

I always use DiscoverCars for my trips and have always had a great experience with them. Unlike some other car rental companies, DiscoverCars have no hidden fees or surcharges, so you always pay what you see online.


By guided tour

Guided tours are the most popular way to visit this waterfall. Guided tours usually include a visit to Misol-Ha Waterfalls and Palenque Ruins, and the tour takes most of your day.

If you don’t have a car, taking a guided is the best option because you get to visit three places in just one day, and have a local guide provide you with a complete overview of each place.

No need to worry about catching buses, trying to translate things, or planning your trip!


You can get to Agua Azul from Palenque by taking a guided tour, a colectivo or renting a car.


Palenque is a popular base for exploring Chiapas’ natural wonders, and you can get to this waterfall by taking a colectivo or joining a guided tour. If you have a car rental, you can also visit other waterfalls in the area including Roberto Barrios and Misol-Ha.

How far is Agua Azul from Palenque?

Palenque is about 43 miles (69 km) and it takes at least 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there by car. A trip by colectivo takes an average 1,5 hours.

Can you swim in Agua Azul?

Yes, you can swim in this waterfall. Most visitors swim on the lower level of the waterfall near the parking area or in the pools in the upper area.

Make your way to the top of the waterfall where you can find big pools of water near the village. It’s a quiet area, and most tourists stay on lower levels, which means you will have a chance to enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere in a serene setting while watching waterfalls and lush mountains.

Learn how to visit Lagunas De Montebello in Chiapas

PRO TIP: Swimming conditions could vary, but it’s always a good idea to follow any safety guidelines provided by local authorities or staff. Check if there are specific rules or restrictions in place during your visit to ensure a safe experience.

To get to Azua Azul from San Cristobal De Las Casas, you can rent a car, take a public bus or hire a private transportation


To get to Agua Azul from San Cristobal de las Casas, you can follow these steps:

By Bus

Go to the bus terminal in San Cristobal de las Casas and look for buses or colectivos (shared vans) that are bound for Palenque. There’s usually at least a few available throughout the day.

Purchase a ticket for Palenque and ask the driver or ticket agent to drop you off at the bus station near the waterfalls.

The journey from San Cristobal de las Casas takes approximately 3-4 hours, depending on the road conditions and traffic.

By Private Transportation

Another option is to hire a taxi or private transportation from San Cristobal de las Casas. You can negotiate the price and itinerary with the driver or transportation service. This option provides more flexibility and convenience, but it is usually more expensive than taking a bus or colectivo.


Once you arrive, can pay the entrance fee and enjoy the natural beauty of the waterfalls and swimming areas. The availability and frequency of transportation may vary, so you need to check the schedules or ask locals for the most up-to-date information before planning your trip.


The best waterfalls in Chiapas

What is the best time to visit Agua Azul?

The best time to visit this waterfall is during the dry season, which is from November to April. During these months, the weather is usually sunny and dry, which is ideal for swimming, hiking, and enjoying the waterfalls.


Visiting during the dry season allows you to experience the water at its clearest and bluest, as the waterfalls flow strongly. The dry season also tends to have less rainfall, reducing the chances of muddy waters, which isn’t great if you want to take good photos.

How much is Agua Azul Mexico?

An entrance ticket costs 40 Pesos and has to be paid in cash. A small nearby village which is in charge of this natural landmark also collects a separate fee which is 40 Pesos and also needs to be paid in cash. Always have more cash on you, in case something changes, or they raise prices.

There are plenty of restaurants in Chiapas where you can try Mexican dishes

Are there restaurants in Agua Azul?

Yes, there are plenty of restaurants near the waterfalls. Most of them operate on cash though, but the good news is that food is generally cheap, and you should be able to get a meal for around 80-100 Pesos. Another option is to grab empanadas, which are deep-fried dumplings, and cost about 40 Pesos for a set of five.

Read: Can you use US dollars in Mexico?

There are no stores in Agua Azul, Chiapas, but plenty of local vendors sell food, snacks and souvenirs.

Are there stores in Agua Azul?

There are many local vendors who sell arts and crafts, clothing, souvenirs, snacks and food in the area near the waterfall. Bring enough cash, as credit cards are not accepted.

Are there ATM’s in Agua Azul Chiapas?

There are no ATM’s in the area. I learned it the hard way when I was 30 Pesos short and couldn’t pay for a taxi to get back to the bus stop. Luckily, I got help, but you should avoid taking chances, and have enough cash on you.

Is it safe to visit Agua Azul Chiapas?

Unlike some waterfalls in Chiapas which are remote and see fewer tourists, Agua Azul is popular, and you don’t need to worry for your safety, except for petty theft. Keep a close eye on your belongings when you go swimming or dining.

You can find plenty food vendors near Agua Azul waterfalls in Chiapas


  • Meaning of “Agua Azul”: The name of the waterfall translates to “Blue Water” in English, which perfectly describes the turquoise-colored water of the cascades.
  • Water Source: The waterfall is formed by the convergence of several streams, including the Otulún and Shumuljá rivers.
  • Cascades and Pools: The waterfall consists of a series of cascades and natural pools created by the flowing water. The cascades range in size, with some reaching heights of up to 6 meters (20 feet).
  • Turquoise Color: The water in this place is renowned for its stunning turquoise color, which is a result of the high mineral content, particularly calcium carbonate, found in the water.
  • Flora and Fauna: The surrounding area of the waterfall is rich in biodiversity. You can find a variety of flora and fauna, including tropical vegetation, orchids, butterflies, and various bird species.
  • Indigenous Communities: The land around the waterfall is home to indigenous communities, including the Tzeltal and Ch’ol peoples, who have a close relationship with the natural environment and are involved in the management and preservation of the area.
  • Tourism and Preservation: It’s a popular tourist destination in Chiapas, attracting visitors from around the world. Efforts are made to balance tourism with environmental conservation, aiming to preserve the natural beauty and ecosystem of the waterfalls.
Best waterfalls in Chiapas


If you want to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of this place and unplug, I recommend booking a stay in one of the cabanas near the waterfall.

  • Cabanas Yax-Ha – Located 5 minutes away, this 3-star hotel offers room service and free Wi-Fi. An on-site restaurant serves traditional Mexican cuisine, free parking is available.
  • Posada Tzeltal – Located in El Otatal, 6 minutes from the waterfalls, this hotel has private parking, on-site restaurant and room service.
Located in Chiapas, Palenque is one of the most beautiful Mayan ruins in Mexico


If you need to be closer to amenities and transportation, you are better off booking your stay in Palenque. Here are the best hotels in Palenque for different budgets:

  • Budget: Hotel Cañada Internacional – if you are looking for a great value while staying in Palenque, book this hotel. Outdoor swimming pool, free parking and super friendly staff who can help you make the most out of your experience.
  • Mid-budget: Casa 5 Bed & Breakfast – One of the best mid-budget hotels in Palenque, Casa 5 is a popular option with free Wi-Fi, and a continental breakfast.
  • Luxury: Chan-Kah Resort Village – Located in the jungle near Palenque, this resort is one of the best stays in town where you can enjoy spa, restaurantsm bars and outdoor swimming pools.


Roberto Barrios is a popular waterfalls near Palenque, Chiapas

Roberto Barrios

Roberto Barrios Waterfall, also known as Cascadas de Roberto Barrios, is a waterfall in the state of Chiapas. It is a series of cascading waterfalls nestled within a lush jungle setting.


The Roberto Barrios Waterfall boasts clear turquoise-colored pools formed by the cascading water. Visitors can swim in the pools or simply relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. The area also offers opportunities for hiking, camping and exploring the surrounding jungle.

Misol-Ha is a popualr waterfall that's commonly visited with Agua Azul


Misol Ha is a majestic waterfall that drops approximately 35 meters (115 feet) into a natural pool below.

The name “Misol Ha” means “falling water” in the local indigenous language. The waterfall is surrounded by lush vegetation and has several walking paths and picnic areas.

There is a pathway that allows visitors to walk behind the waterfall, providing a unique perspective and good photo ops. Swimming in the pool at the base of Misol Ha is a great way to cool off in the hot climate.

Palenque is a popular destination in Chiapas known for its Mayan ruins, stunning waterfalls and natural setting.


Palenque Archaeological Area (Zona Arcaeologica de Palenque in Spanish) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site a short drive from the town of Palenque.


Palenque was a significant Maya city that thrived during the Late Classic period, from around the 6th to the 8th century AD.

Palenque ruins is one of the best places to visit in Chiapas, Mexico

The ruins of Palenque are renowned for their well-preserved architecture, intricate carvings, and stunning jungle setting. The site covers an area of approximately 15 square kilometers (6 square miles) and features temples, palaces, residential buildings, and ball courts.


Tonala is a remote archaeological site located near Ocosingo, about halfway between San Cristobal De las Casas and Palenque. 

You can visit Tonina with a guided tour from San Cristobal or taking a combi (shared van) to Ocosingo. If you have a car rental, you can visit Tonina when you travel from Palenque to San Cristobal or vice versa.