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The Best Hiking Trail in Lagos de Montebello | Cinco Lagos

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Chiapas is filled with diverse natural beauty. From waterfalls, to hidden Mayan ruins with a jungle backdrop, Mexico’s most southern state has it all. A spectacular spot that is often missed by travelers is located right on the border to Guatemala, the stunning turquoise lakes of Lagos de Montebello. This incredible National Park is made up of over 50 glistening lakes, caves, pine forests, and offers some of Chiapa’s best hiking trails, like the Cinco Lagos path.

The picturesque Cinco Lagos (Five Lakes) trail in Lagos de Montebello National Park is a beautiful and moderate hike that boasts epic viewpoints, a beach, and lovely forest paths that twist along the hillside. The trailhead begins from Lago Pojoj in Lagunas de Montebello National Park. Seriously, the park looks “almost out of place” for Mexico, like the area should be a postcard image for some far off European alpine village.

For those looking to explore the hiking trails here, it’s best to base from the Chiapas villages of Comitán or Tziscao.

This definitive guide is all about how explore Lagos de Montebello, advice on where to sleep, detailed information and a map for the Cinco Lagos hike, and other places to see in Chiapas that are close to Montebello National Park!

Table of Contents

Disclosure: This is part of my Hikes & Adventures series, which means these treks can be strenuous and challenging. I have personally done each of these hikes independently, but it does not make me an expert by any means. Please have all the proper equipment, verify the weather conditions, and take into consideration your own physical abilities and/or limitations. Please see my full disclosure for more information here.

☛ Travel Tip | The park goes by many names besides Lagos de Montebello. It can be referenced to any of the following: Lagunas de Montebello, Montebello National Park, and in Spanish, Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello. Whew!

How to Best Explore Lagos de Montebello

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A panoramic view of Lagos Pojoj, the first mirador on the Cinco Lagos hike

The Lagos de Montebello National Park is super close to the Guatemala border. It’s almost a three hour drive from the charming and most popular Chiapas “pueblo magico” of San Cristobal de las Casas. Many San Cristobal de las Casas tour companies offer LONG day trips to the national park. However, let me emphasize the LONG DAY part.

The round-trip journey is almost 7+ hours in the car. Since so much time is spent reaching the destination, most organized tours spend less than hour here. Unfortunately, a majority of the tour companies only do a quick stop at Montebello Lake, which is the most popular of the sparking lakes.

In my humble opinion there are more picturesque lakes within the Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello. Psst… like Laguna Pojoj and the Cinco Lagos hike.

The best way to explore Lagos de Montebello is independently. Lagos de Montebello can easily be included as a pit-stop on an incredible Chiapas road trip.

If you don’t want to rent a car, Chiapas is well connected via public transportation. Colectivos run frequently from San Crisitobal de las Casas to Comitan (Comitán) and depart from next to the main bus terminal. Alternatively, ADO and OCC run buses daily to Comitan averaging around $60 pesos ($2.50 USD) for a one-way ticket.

Skip the rushed day trip and independently explore Lagos de Montebello!

More Things to Do in Lagunas de Montebello

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A hiking path along Montebello Lake, the most frequently visited lake in Lagunas de Montebello National Park

Lagunas de Montebello is so much more than the popular Lake Montebello (Laguna Montebello). Since Laguna Montebello is the most popular, there are lots of activities offered here. There is a short hiking trail around the lake with little sandy beaches to take a dip and cool off in. Another alternative way to explore Lake Montebello is to rent a row boat, or go on a horseback riding tour.

Parque Nacional Lagunas de Montebello Logistics | Main Entrance Fee: $50 pesos ($2.50 USD) Some lakes have additional fees | Official toll booth: here | After 18:00 the National Park is not regulated. Camping is at your own risk and not recommended | Facilities: Cabanas to rent, garbage cans, small food shops, picnic tables, roadside restaurants

In Chiapas, hiking options are plentiful in Lagunas de Montebello National Park. Some of the lakes offer the option to swim in the crystal lake water, always check the signage board for each lake.

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Laguna Encantada also offers boat tours around the lake

At the main entrance gate of Lagunas de Montebello, don’t miss the northern set of lakes including: Laguna Encantada, Laguna Esmeralda, and Laguna Ensueño. There are lots of viewpoint spots and a few short walking paths near the lakes. My favorite was Laguna Ensueño, which was small, but the water was so clear and otherworldly looking. Farther up the road across from Laguna Bosque Azul is a short path that leads to a cave.

Lake Tziscao, which sits next to the border of Guatemala is beautiful and has lots of sleeping options. Next to it, Lago Internacional is straddles the border between Mexico and Guatemala.

But in reality, there are over 50 lakes so the hiking, exploring, and adventuring options in Lagos de Montebello are endless!

Sleeping Options Around Lagos de Montebello

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Tziscao Lake has lots of cabañas surrounding it plus small swimming beaches and walking paths

Here are a few tips on where to sleep when exploring Lagos de Montebello.

⁉️ Safety Tip | The National Park is not patrolled after 18:00 and we were advised by the gatekeepers to not to sleep in our van at any of the parking lots near the lakes. Camping in Lagos de Montebello is also not recommended.

Comitán

Comitan is an easy hour collectivo ride away from the Lagos de Montebello. The city of Comitan is a great base for travelers that wish to explore other Chiapas highlights that are nearby, like Chiflon Waterfall, the pools of Uninajab, or the Chucumaltik Cenote.

There’s a lot of different options to sleep in Comitan

Lago Tziscao

There’s lot of cabaña sleeping options in Tziscao. Many of the options are lake front with spectacular view!

Lagos de Montebello Cabaña sleeping options in Lago Tziscao

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Van Camping at Cabañas Miravalle Tziscao on Lago Tziscao

For campers or those traveling in a van, Cabañas Miravalle Tziscao has camping options available for $80 pesos ($4 USD) per person. This includes access to the Wi-Fi, hot showers, and clean bathrooms. This is the best option for camping in Lagos de Montebello, since it offers stellar views and it’s directly on the lake. Each site has a picnic bench and fire-pit. Firewood can be ordered from the front desk and delivered to your site.

Map & Overview | Cinco Lagos Hike in Lagos de Montebello

Now that the logistics are complete, wake up early to tackle the best hike in Lagunas de Montebello, Cinco Lagos (Five Lakes). The Cinco Lagos trail at Laguna Pojoj is clearly marked, but this map can help for planning and logistics purposes. This route is officially marked by the national park as “Sendero el Perol.”

Psst….This map can be downloaded as a KML for Maps.me or as a GPX file. Click on the map or snippet to reach the map file.

Cinco Lagos is the most popular hike in Lagos de Montebello, so try to get to the trailhead early. You are less likely to run into other hikers. Most people only walk to the first viewpoint, but it’s worth it to walk the entire Chiapas hiking trail. It really is scenic and some of the best views of the park can be seen towards the end of the trail.

Hey… don’t forget your Travel Insurance! I love SafetyWing

Five Lakes Hike Logistics

  • Out & Back Trail
  • Round-Trip Mileage: 3.6 miles
  • One-Way Mileage: 1.8 miles
  • Entrance Fee: $75 pesos in total ($3.75 USD)
    • $25 pesos to enter Laguna Pojoj / $50 pesos for Lagos de Montebello National Park Entrance
    • The gatekeeper will also verify the main National Park entrance ticket
  • Trail Markers: The trail mostly follows along a dirt path. There are signboards along the route
  • Difficulty: Moderate, for some steeper ascent and descents
  • Excursion Duration: +/- 3 hours

Highlights of Cinco Lagos Hike

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The trailhead to experience the Cinco Lagos hike is officially called Sendero el Perol

The Cinco Lagos trailhead is located right next to the main entrance gate for Laguna Pojoj. This is just a quick five minute drive from Tziscao village. There is a small area to park right at the trailhead, otherwise hop in a moto from Tziscao to drop you at the main entrance gate. Start early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat and have the trail to yourself.

Remember, Laguna Pojoj has its own additional entrance fee of $25 pesos. Pay the gatekeeper and sign-in with them. If you don’t want to hike, it’s possible to arrange a kayak tour for around $200 pesos ($10 USD) a person to the little island on Lake Pojoj.

But, this is all about hiking in Lagos de Montebello. Start up the clearly marked trailhead! Vamos!

Lago Pojoj Viewpoint

Less than half a mile from the trailhead is the main Lago Pojoj viewpoint. Here, find a covered bench and one of the best views of the lake. This is an excellent panoramic viewpoint that you can see the little island, and maybe some kayakers!

It’s worth it to continue on the trail. The dirt path winds through the hillside and is surrounded by lush forests. Look for the towering pine trees. There are multiple places to stop and take some excellent photos.

Sendero el Perol Highlights

Mirador King Kong

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Mirador King Kong feels like it is out of a movie

One of the best viewpoints along the Cinco Lagos trail is the Mirador King Kong. This picturesque view is about 1.5 miles into the hiking route. There is a little dirt clearance to snag some excellent photos. You will notice now that you will start the descent down to the beach of Cinco Lagos.

Beach of Cinco Lagos

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The beach at the end of the trail is a mixture of sand and rocks. Mind your feet!

The trail ends down by the water. The best beach section to swim is to the left, where you’ll find a little stretch of sandy beach. Swimming is allowed here. This little area is an excellent option to have a picnic. There is a changing room and an outhouse, but no other facilities or tiendas here.

Optional Viewpoint

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While the beach area is to the left, follow around the lake towards the right and see a wooden staircase. There is a short little hike on a clearly marked path that opens up to another scenic viewpoint of two more Lagunas. This viewpoint is worth it and takes less than 5 minues.

When ready, head back on the same trail that brought you here.

This lovely day hike in Chiapas can be done in around three hours, including a quick dip in the lake.

Chiapas Highlights Close to Lagos de Montebello National Park

As started earlier, a car is the easiest way to explore this region of Chiapas, but colectivos do connect many of the surrounding Chiapas highlights.

Comitan

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Chucumaltik Cenote is a hidden gem in Chiapas Mexico

Comitan village is an option to base to explore the nearby Chiflon Waterfall. This impressive waterfall has nice hiking paths, a towering observatory deck, and a few waterfalls within the Ecopark of Cascadas El Chiflon. Another popular activity in Chiflon is to ride one of the many ziplines that tower over the park.

From Comitan, it’s also possible to visit the public pools of Uninajab. For a more private experience, take a swim at the picturesque Chucumaltik Cenote, which is on the road to Uninajab.

Las Nubes

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The powerful Cascada de Las Nubes is just over an hour and a half from Lago Tziscao

Follow along the Guatemala border to arrive at Las Nubes Ecopark. This stunning waterfall has cabañas and places to pitcha tent. Take a walk on the jungle path, or simply savor views of powerful waterfall. There’s no need to leave the park, since there is a delicious restaurant onsite, but the village is colorful and warrants a quick stop. Las Nubes is a spectacular Chiapas highlight that should not be missed.

Final Thoughts | The Best Hiking Trail in Lagos de Montebello

In short, this is an overview on Lagos de Montebello National Park, a spectacular highlight when visiting the Chiapas region of Mexico. Lagunas de Montebello offers travelers to explore over 50 lakes in a breathtaking forest setting. There are a plethora of walking paths, opportunities to rent row boats, and beaches to swim at. However, one of the best ways to explore the park is by taking a hike, specifically the scenic Cinco Lagos trek.

The Cinco Lagos hike is beautiful and the trail is well marked. This hike is a perfect half day excursion for those who are exploring Lagunas de Montebello in depth.

Have you been to Lagunas de Montebello National Park in Chiapas? What did you think about all the Lagos of Montebello? Did you hike the Cinco Lagos hike? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: There’s a chance this post contains affiliate links, and I receive a small (but grateful) portion of the sale. There’s no extra cost to you, and I only promote things that I use and love.

About Author

Hey, my name is Megs! I'm an adventure-seeking, wanna be storyteller, with a wandering soul. I love immersing myself in diverse cultures and customs. I'm kind of obsessed with hiking in the mountains, soaking in hot springs, and seeking-out the most authentic travel experiences as possible! Find me savoring a good cup of coffee, eating at traditional markets, or catching a sunset with a glass of wine in hand. Experiences and memories are my most prized possessions.

4 Comments

  • Soon
    December 7, 2021 at 5:14 am

    Hi Meg, thanks for your article.
    after reading it, I just grabbed my backpack nd got there : Tziscao, Yesterday.
    Did you actually spent some time in Tizscao please?
    the thing is, I doubt it.. (and when was your trip there? I can’t see no date? 🤔) I think if you had spent a night in Tziscao, may be it could have been very useful to advise people to bring their own food as there is barely 1 restaurant.. AND during the night, about being woken up every 30 minutes by the 10 roosters of this village…. I’ve just spent 1 night without getting sleep, nd I won’t be able to hike around the lakes tomorrow…. I can’t be thankful for that 🙁

    Reply
    • Megs
      December 7, 2021 at 7:23 am

      Thank you for your feedback and I’m sorry you had such a different experience. I spent two days and one night in Lagunas de Montebello National Park and slept in Tziscao. I take pride in my recommendations and photos being my own, so the photos of Lago Tziscao are where we actually slept at the cabanas, in a van.

      I was there in July 2021, less than 5 months ago. My cabana served food along with two more cabanas that had small outdoor restaurants down the street. There were also food stalls right on the main road before you turn into the village. We ate between both of these places. We took cooking gear, but did not use it once on our trip for making food, only to have fresh coffee in the mornings. However, traveling during Covid is a gamble and places can always shut down without much notice.

      As for the roosters, I’m sorry they disturbed you. I oftentimes find myself sleeping and staying in small authentic villages, as I prefer them to the bustling cities. Many of these villages survive on raising their own livestock and roosters are quite common. I have been traveling through South and Latin America extensively since October 2019, and maybe I have gained a tolerance for it.

      Sorry you will miss the hike. I enjoyed independently walking and hiking here while visiting Chiapas. Good luck on your future travels

      Reply
  • Lizzie
    February 21, 2022 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks for this info, excited to be heading there myself this weekend! Quick question, hopping in a moto to get to the trainhead sounds simple enough. How did you manage to get back? Do they drive by the entrance regularly? Do you ask your driver to wait or return in a few hours? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Megs
      February 25, 2022 at 11:56 am

      Hey Lizzie-

      We had a car, but we saw many motos passing by the main road. The gatekeeper that watches over the trail is super close to the main road. You should be able to have the moto come back and get you, or simply wait for you. For reference, the entrance road to this trail is less than 1.5 miles from the entrance to the village of Tziscao, but it is quite busy with cars, collectivos, ect. Afterwards, we ate at one of the food stalls along the main road, which also has a nice viewpoint. Happy hiking! 🥾

      Reply

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