Tapachula, Chiapas

Tapachula map 1Tapachula, Chiapas

Tapachula coa“Tapachula is the most southerly city in Mexico. It is an economically blessed city with much of its wealth derived from coffee plantations and processing. For the traveler, Tapachula is somewhat plain and merely the jumping point for a trek to Central America, however with a little time and curiosity, this no-frill city can delight with small pleasures.

Written by Dorothy Bell

Photography by Bill Bell


Tapachula1Name: The Official Tapachula de Córdova y Ordóñezin to honor a Brother Matías de Córdova y Ordóñez. Tapachula means “Between the Waters” in the Nahuatl language.

Tapachula2Location: Tapachula is the southern most city in Mexico. It is on the Pacific Ocean in the state of Chiapas along the Guatamalen border.

Weather: Hot and Humid throughout the year. The annual rainfall of about 3,900mm makes it one of the world’s most rainy cities.

January Average Highs 34.4C (93.9F) Lows 17.9C (64.2F)

July Average Highs 33.1C (91.6F) Lows 20.2C (68.4F)

Population: 190,000

Elevation: 170 meters above Sea Level

Founded: The Aztecs founded Tapachula in 1486 to collect tribute (taxes)

Tapachula3Medical: At present there is one government hospital, IMSS hospitals private hospitals and one Mexican Red Cross Hospital. Hospital services have concentrated on labor and delivery, infectious diseases, malnutrition and accidents.

Money: Abundant ATMs and Banks


The area was continually invaded and settled by a number of different cultures. Likely the Central American Indian groups that  settles in the area were what is now collectively called the Mames. They were conquered by the Olmecs, who were then attacked by the Toltecs. Tapachula was eventually in 1486 established by the Aztecs as a collection point for the taxes and tributes to be paid to Mexico City.

After the Spanish Conquest Tapachula became the center of the region for the development of cacao. In 1774 the city became the capital for the region.

Before the War of Independence, Tapachula protested long and hard about taxation imposed by the Spanish and during the conflict was declared both a town and a parish. Flexing its muscle and prominence as the regional capital, Tapachula declared itself independent from Spain, Guatamala and Mexico.(1821-24). In 1888 the region was declared Mexican.

In the early 1900’s many Chinese came to work the coffee plantations. The descendants of these original workers have spread throughout the state and are evident in the number of restaurants and supply stores particularly in Tapachula.


Tapachula is a border city and has grown rich and prosperous with international trade and the flow of goods between the two countries. It is also the principal city, the center for an agriculturally rich region area that produces internationally acclaimed coffee. It has the highest per capital income in the state of Chiapas.

Tapachula is a modern city and has developed suburban malls with big box retailers. The central city core needs revitalization and a plan to develop as a vital historical and cultural center of the city. The Parque Miguel Hidalgo is a plaza lined with trees and a central octagon kiosk. To one side is the old and new municipal palace, Soconusco Archeological Museum and theatre.

Tapachula4Things to Do

Visit the Soconusco Archeological Museum in part of the old city hall. Hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 to 17:00 hrs. Phone: (961) 67 64 173

Displays important pieces from local archeological sites of the area. See a gold scull with turquoise.

The Casa De Cultura is and art deco styled building erected in 1929. The façade however, is Oaxacan with Aztec warriors and serpents.

Tapachula San Augustine

San Agustíne The San Augustíne parish church built in the 18th century honors San Augustine the patron saint of the city. It was once the central cathedral of the city.


(Tapachula celebrates the many Mexican festivals featured in our calendar. The ones listed below are particular to Tapachula)

February – Chinese New Year. Lion and Dragon dances are performed

February 28 to March 6 – International Fair of Tapachula Cultural, Commercial and Agricultural Exhibitions including livestock, crafts, art, rides, rodeos, dances, bullfights and cock fighting.

November (Variable Dates)

Festival of Culture and Arts

Art in various forms plus an, academic  component including a forum where intellectuals give lectures and presentations on social, cultural, political and economic topics

Tapachula map 2Getting there:

Drive from.

Airport – Tapachula International Airport (TAP) Mexico’s southernmost airport. National and International air traffic.


There is a wide variety of Hotels, Posadas and no-tell motels.

Tapachula hotels




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