The magic of Chiapas is not only to be found in its jungle or by canoeing down a river. There are incredible museums in Chiapas that offer a better approach to the indigenous flora and fauna, but also to its history, past, present and future! 

Follow the guide to discover the best museums in Chiapas!

The best museums in Chiapas, Mexico

Musée du Kakaw

For lovers of cultural travel, Chiapas is an inexhaustible source of discoveries of all kinds. Historical, cultural, botanical, scientific, technological, religious or archaeological. 

There are several museums in Chiapas, some very well equipped and others very simple community museums.

With our list and advice on the best museums in Chiapas, we want to make it easier for you to organize your excursions during your vacation in Chiapas.

Summary

Interactive map of the best museums in Chiapas

Culture in Chiapas

Chiapas is a state of extraordinary beauty and cultural richness, which can be seen in its vast natural resources, in the richness of its ethnic roots and in its impressive archaeological and colonial heritage, as well as in its many artistic and artisanal expressions.

The conservation, dissemination and study of this rich heritage, the heritage of all Mexico, has taken on increasing importance in recent years, as the region has promoted the foundation and initiation of various projects that contribute to the dissemination of its precious cultural heritage.

Thus, for example, there are archaeological museums in Chiapas such as the one at the Toniná site in the Ocosingo Valley, which has a large collection of beautiful sculptures and pieces of pottery, jade, shells and bones, which give us a brilliant view of what this site was like in its time of splendour.

Other museums in Chiapas, such as those in Palenque, Soconusco, Comitán and Tonalá, contribute to the great task of disseminating cultural heritage, allowing locals and foreigners alike to appreciate the properties in their local context, thus facilitating the understanding of pre-Hispanic remains and their environment, integrating material and informative elements and other museographic supports on the cultures that inhabited the different regions.

The Regional Museum of Chiapas, opened in 1984, is of great importance. It is housed in a monumental building built specifically to house the archaeological and historical assets of Chiapas. In addition, among the museums in Comitan, we can mention the one dedicated to the famous politician Don Belisario Dominguez, and the Hermilia Dominguez de Castellanos, which exhibits beautiful artistic expressions by national painters.

It is necessary to mention those founded inside the former convents, where a strong work of evangelization was developed in a crucial way by the Dominican friars; such as the one in Tecpatán, the former convent of Las Mercedes in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, and the one in Santo Domingo in Chiapa de Corzo, the latter recently restored and reopened to the public as a cultural centre. Here you will discover magnificent indigenous crafts from the region and a magical architectural world in the building.

The participation of the communities and their link with the past, in which their roots, symbols and values are recognized and recreated, has led to the creation and permanence of community museums in which the communities themselves contribute their work, time and resources, promoting the expression of their identity with the sole aim of keeping their culture alive.

The cultural life of the State of Chiapas is an important mission, for it is one in which many hopes can be placed that will lead us to a better understanding of the lives of its inhabitants, understanding of course the lives of their ancestors, of those who forged great cities in the middle of nowhere and in the very heart of a jungle that seems to devour everything, and who were in turn devoured by a handful of ambitious men who conquered them with a cross and a sword before them.

The life of this state and its people can be read in its museums, in every room, in every archaeological piece, in every sculpture and in every craft, cultural and daily expression that can tell us about a glory that, fortunately, still lives deep in every Chiapas.

Museums of Tuxtla Gutiérrez

Regional Museum of Chiapas

Located in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the Regional Museum of Chiapas, specializing in archaeology and history, has some beautiful pieces that give an overview of the history of the state, focusing on the civilizations that inhabited it.

The building itself is a work of modern art, somewhat neglected by the local authorities (at the time of our last visit there was no air conditioning), but this inconvenience is compounded by the richness and quality of the pieces it houses. During our visit we discovered unique pieces of Chiapaneco, Zoque and Mayan art, monoliths from the altar of Tiltepec, treasures from the tomb of Chiapa de Corzo, crystals, stones, bones and shells.
It is undoubtedly an excellent place to begin discovering the history of the ancient inhabitants of the territory of Chiapas.

Children’s Museum of Tuxtla Gutiérrez

This museum in Chiapas seeks to promote the values and education of children in Chiapas through activities that enrich the knowledge of its users and encourage collective respect and respect for the environment.

Tuxtla Planetarium Jaime Sabines Gutiérrez

It is one of the largest and most modern in all of Mexico. It has the highest 2D and 3D image projection technology in Mexico and Latin America. Unlike most planetariums, which usually project images of the cosmos with a “fisheye” lens located in the center of the auditorium, in the dome of the Planetarium of Tuxtla, the 129 seats (four of which are reserved for the disabled) are arranged almost like a conventional movie theater.

Museum of Paleontology

More than 200 fossils are on display in the halls of the museum, all from Chiapas, with antiquities ranging from 300 million years to 10,000 years old. The main hall is crowned by the reconstruction of a megatherium, in addition to fossil remains of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates representative of almost all the state’s municipalities.

Among the most striking objects is Chiapas amber, which shows pieces of this fossil resin with inclusions of insects and spiders. It also has a multi-purpose room and an exhibition laboratory, where visitors can appreciate how a paleontologist works on the restoration and conservation of fossils.

Botanical Museum

The museum and botanical gardens are an important resource for the knowledge of the endemic flora of the state of Chiapas. Located in the heart of the state capital, it features some of the most important tree species in the region, a permanent exhibition on medicinal plants and another on the flowers of Chiapas.

Musée Zoque

Les Zoques sont un groupe ethnique mexicain originaire des États du Chiapas, d’Oaxaca et de Tabasco. Les Zoques du Chiapas sont appelés O-depüt, (peuple de confiance). 
A 20 minutes du centre de Tuxtla Gutiérrez, se trouve la ville de Copoya, considérée comme l’un des rares endroits qui maintiennent l’esprit et les traditions du peuple zoque, racine ancestrale de la région centrale de l’Etat. 

Dans le parc central se trouve le Musée Zoque, dont les salles révèlent l’origine, les coutumes, l’art et la vision du monde de cette culture. Ce bâtiment, inauguré en 2006, a pour but de valoriser les aspects qui caractérisent la culture Zoque, d’apprécier les différentes danses traditionnelles, les vêtements ainsi que l’histoire de ce groupe ethnique.

Dans ce bâtiment du Chiapas on peut aussi découvrir les habitats traditionnels constitué d’un toit en herbe, de murs en bajareque (Matériau de construction artisanal composé de bâtons et de cannes assemblés avec un mélange de boue et de paille) et d’un sol en terre. 

Coffee Museum

Coffee lovers should not miss this important and interesting place in Chiapas, the Tuxtla Gutiérrez Coffee Museum. Visitors can take guided tours to discover the social, economic and cultural importance of coffee in Mexico and around the world. There are separate exhibition rooms devoted to the history, biology and distribution of coffee, as well as a tasting room and coffee bar.

City Museum

The town museum is housed in a beautiful building from 1942 and is dedicated to the origin, development and history of the town, as well as its customs and traditions.

Unfortunately, we were not able to visit it because the last earthquake in 2017 damaged it and the authorities are not at the moment willing to rehabilitate the building.

Museum of Science and Technology of Chiapas

The Museum of Science and Technology of Chiapas was created with the aim of showing children and adults the technological functioning of the most modern scientific advances through interactive, didactic and playful spaces.

  • It is one of the best museums to discover in Chiapas with children.

It consists of a room devoted to temporary exhibitions, an area called “Recreational Science” equipped with a toy and computer library; where scientific workshops are given; and three permanent rooms with the following themes :

  • The Universe
  • Earthly life and human beings
  • Communications and tools

This last room describes the development of technology by addressing the issues of nanotechnology, biotechnology, sustainable development, robotics, artificial intelligence and information technology.

Crocodile Museum

This is the most recent space in the Miguel Alvarez del Toro Zoo (ZooMat), which has been rehabilitated for a specific exhibition for the enjoyment of the public; it is currently the only one of its kind in Chiapas, Mexico, Latin America and the world.

Miguel Álvarez del Toro Zoo (ZooMAT)

One of the emblematic sites in Chiapas and the city of Tuxtla is the “Miguel Álvarez del Toro” zoo, whose name is a tribute to its founder, an environmentalist from Colima who came to the state to work on the conservation of ecosystems.

The objective of the zoo, which has about 1,200 specimens and some 200 species, has always been the study and conservation of fauna.

Marimba Museum

Before the sun sets in Tuxla Gutiérrez and the locals go to the Marimba Square to listen to the music and dance of the marimba, take a walk to the Marimba Museum to get to know this fascinating musical form. 

The latter has a marimba production area, several interactive audiovisual spaces to listen to music performed by famous marimba groups.

Musées de San Cristóbal de las Casas

Ex-convento of Santo Domingo and Lacquer Museum

This former 16th century convent is one of the must-see stops on your visit to Chiapa de Corzo. Its beautiful red and white brick decoration houses the Lacquer Museum – a collection of pots, gourds and other brightly painted and lacquered household objects. It is said that the tradition of making lacquerware existed in Mexico even before the Spaniards introduced these objects to the New World and there is no other museum that presents this art form in all of Mexico.

Museum of San Cristóbal de las Casas

Inaugurated in 2016, the San Cristóbal de las Casas Museum is the modern face of the entire city. It was built in the former municipal palace, designed by the engineer Carlos Z. Flores in 1885. This Tuscan neoclassical and Roman Doric style house served as the seat of government for many years.

The MUSAC presents the history of San Cristóbal de las Casas, whose building is considered a symbol and architectural jewel of the city. It highlights the importance of culture, architecture, customs and traditions.

Museum of History and Curiosities

The Museum of History and Curiosities of San Cristóbal promotes the culture and history of the city to adults and children through subjects related to the history of San Cristóbal since its foundation in 1528-1973. The museography includes texts and pleasant, light-hearted exhibitions that awaken knowledge and allow analysis of the present time.

Mayan World Textiles Centre

The collection of the Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya includes more than 2,500 pieces of textiles from Chiapas, mainly from two collections: the Patronato de la Colección Pellizzi and the Fomento Cultural Banamex.

Jtatik Samuel Museum

The museography describes subjects related to the first inhabitants of the Mayan culture in the region, the conquest of the Spaniards, the history of the Diocese of San Cristobal, and the life and work of Samuel Ruiz Garcia.
In two of its rooms, the diversity of textiles in Chiapas is explained and exhibited, where the works of 15 communities are presented. The other room is dedicated to castes, which are replicas of the most important collection of Mexican castes in the world.

Kakaw Museum

It is believed that this wonderful cocoa plant was first cultivated in Chiapas and surrounding areas of Mexico.

This museum pays homage to the illustrious history of cocoa and chocolate in Chiapas and also offers visitors many opportunities to taste chocolate in its different forms, produced in the museum’s chocolate factory! It is very well located, in a large and appropriate place. They sell different types of chocolate, all delicious. In this place you can get to know real chocolate and differentiate it from the coffees sold in the shops.

Mesoamerican Jade Museum

Jade was a mystical and precious stone in ancient times in Mexico. The control of jade mining made cities like the ancient Teotihuacán very rich. It was widely used for trade and was also made into death masks, jewelry and household items. The Jade Museum displays hundreds of exhibits from pre-Columbian times to the present day and explains how jade is used in jewelry making.

Museum of Popular Cultures

The Museum of Popular Cultures is housed in a colonial-style building. Its objective is to valorize manifestations and expressions of the Popular Culture of the State of Chiapas.

Among its facilities, it has a permanent exhibition room where the various customs and traditions of the different cultures of the region are displayed, as well as a temporary exhibition room and a gallery where the works of local artists are exhibited. It also offers workshops, the sale of handicrafts and technical assistance for the development of popular culture projects.

Museum of Mayan Medicine

This museum introduces visitors to a multitude of medicinal herbs and techniques used by the indigenous people of Chiapas.

Through the eyes of healers, midwives and herbalists, the museum offers a glimpse into the world of traditional medicine in this region. There is also a medicinal herb garden on site.

Na Bolom Museum

Na Bolom aims at the conservation, development and promotion of the culture and environment of the Mayan area of this beautiful state.

Its name comes from the Mayan language Tzotzil which means House of the Jaguar.

The building where this museum is located was originally a Catholic seminary and later became the home of the Danish archaeologist Frans Blom and his wife, the anthropologist and photographer Gertrude Duby, who for 40 years managed to accumulate an enormous photographic collection that has made it possible to know the history of the Lacandone people.
The anthropologist’s main concern was to protect the life of the Lacandons and the forest.

Amber Museum

The Amber Museum is located in what used to be the Convent of La Merced, and is dedicated to amber, the most characteristic jewel of Chiapas.

The miners, artisans and merchants of the municipality of Simojovel had the initiative to create this space for the exhibition and sale of the jewel so appreciated in Chiapas.

Amber is displayed here in its different presentations: carved pieces, jewelry and objects of great artisanal value. It has been used by man throughout history as a ceremonial offering, protection, for medicinal purposes and as a raw material for the manufacture of amulets, jewelry and art objects; in addition to providing important information about the life that disappeared, thanks to the study of its inlays.

Moxviquil – Orchid Museum

Orquídeas Moxviquil is a reserve in San Cristóbal de las Casas where a small world of these fascinating plants awaits you.

The aim of this place is to encourage the preservation of the wilderness areas of Chiapas, using the orchid as a symbol of all that is natural, complex and precious.

Museum of Metallurgy, Shapes and Colours of Iron

In the Metallurgy Museum you can see the most representative ironwork pieces in the state of Chiapas, such as crosses decorated with symbols representing the passion of Christ, trees of life, as well as locks and animal-like decoys, each of which has its own meaning.

Master Guadalupe Hermosillo has been working with metal for more than 20 years, during which time he has worked with fire to give the iron different shades, from intense blue to silvery white, gold, green and red. In this way, he has succeeded in elaborating metal pieces of great artistic value with which he has participated in important and representative competitions at all levels, obtaining various recognitions.

Museum of Regional Costumes by Sergio Castro

The building displays more than 90 costumes representing the different indigenous populations of Chiapas. Jewellery, musical instruments, clothing accessories, religious objects, hats, masks, statuettes and animal skins complete the exhibition.

Its owner, Mr. Sergio Castro Martinez, personally directs the guided tours and explains to visitors the places, clothing, ceremonies and daily life of the inhabitants of the state of Chiapas.

Musées de Comitán de Domínguez

Archaeological Museum of Comitán

The Archaeological Museum of Comitán was inaugurated in August 1993 and shares space with the library of a building built in 1944 as a school.

The exterior is distinguished by its portico, which is a revisited version of Art Deco, widely used during the period of Mexican artistic nationalism. The interior, however, is decidedly in the traditional Comitán style with a long patio surrounded by corridors. A bust of the musician Esteban Alfonso adorns the same patio. The building also houses a programme of temporary exhibitions.

Hermila Domínguez de Castellanos Art Museum

The Hermila Domínguez de Castellanos Art Museum exhibits a permanent collection of paintings by Rufino Tamayo, José Luis Cuevas, José Guadalupe Posada, Francisco Toledo, Gunther Gerszo, Luis Zarate, as well as an important sample of the work of outstanding painters from Chiapas and Oaxaca, such as Ariel Mendoza Baños, Manuel Sasnávar and Rodolfo Morales, among others.

The building has a temporary exhibition room called Rufino Tamayo, in which exhibitions of painters from the region and other parts of the country are held. It is an important space where the plastic works of young artists from Chiapas are presented. In addition, plastic arts workshops are offered to children and young people. It is a meeting point for academics and artists, who give seminars, lectures and special workshops on art history, artistic appreciation and painting techniques. This space hosts the Chiapas Fine Art Auction, which takes place every year at the beginning of August. Its library has a bibliographic collection focused on art and general culture.

Museum of the Archaeological Zone of Tenam Puente

This room is located in the archaeological area of Tenam Puente. It has an exhibition area of 36 square metres. Tenam is derived from the Nahuatl word tenamitl, which means fortified place. The second name was given to it by the former estate of El Puente, which existed in what is now the ejidal nucleus of Francisco Sarabia.

House-Museum of Dr. Belisario Domínguez Palencia

This House-Museum in Chiapas is the house where Dr. Belisario Domínguez was born and lived most of his life. On display are objects of personal use, his medical instruments, furniture and even correspondence addressed to him and his family. The building has been restored and preserves the typical architectural style of the time; its garden reproduces the same shape characteristic of the end of the last century and preserves Don Belisario’s favourite plants. The house includes 50 years of the life of this character, which are reflected in the objects and documents on display.

Rosario Castellanos Museum

A place full of magic for having housed one of the most important writers of the country, and even the building itself. The Rosario Castellanos Museum is very well done and the guides do their job really well. The latter presents the poems from the series “Viva voz de la UNAM” (Long live the voice of the UNAM), as well as various photographs and a wax sculpture by the author of Balún Canan, a novel set in Comitán, the place where her parents were born and where she lived for most of her childhood. It is well worth a visit.

Museums in Chiapa de Corzo

House-Museum of Nandayapa Marimba

The marimba is the musical instrument that represents Chiapas, but it is also an instrument in which cultures from continents as far apart as Africa and America have merged, keeping in its sound woods the secret of its origins.

For this reason, an enclosure has been created that houses the history of the marimba, as well as its journey through the territory of Chiapas. The building is located in front of the famous Marimba Park. Five galleries, a marimba production workshop and an audiovisual room are part of this temple dedicated to the marimba, which houses pieces that tell the history and evolution of this music.

Angel Albino Corzo House Museum

Located in the central square of Chiapa de Corzo. It occupies the old house of Don Angel Albino Corzo Castillejos, an eminent man from Chiapas who promoted the liberal reforms carried out by Benito Juarez. He defended the state against the invading troops, which is why he was named Benemérito del Sur. Chiapa de Corzo has been named after him since 1881. Throughout the visit to this large house, which dates back to 1750, you will see various pieces of furniture and personal items. In this Chiapas house-museum, different cultural activities are celebrated such as exhibitions, oratory contests, photographic samples and book presentations, as well as some official acts of the Chiapa de Corzo City Council.

Angel Albino Corzo House Museum

Located in the central square of Chiapa de Corzo. It occupies the old house of Don Angel Albino Corzo Castillejos, an eminent man from Chiapas who promoted the liberal reforms carried out by Benito Juarez. He defended the state against the invading troops, which is why he was named Benemérito del Sur. Chiapa de Corzo has been named after him since 1881. Throughout the visit to this large house, which dates back to 1750, you will see various pieces of furniture and personal items. In this Chiapas house-museum, different cultural activities are celebrated such as exhibitions, oratory contests, photographic samples and book presentations, as well as some official acts of the Chiapa de Corzo City Council.

Lacquer Museum

Created in 1952 by the Instituto Nacional Indigenista, the lacquerware museum displays pieces of this ancestral craft and seeks to encourage the production of works in the old style to preserve traditional forms, as well as to promote innovation in their production among new generations of craftsmen. It exhibits the collection of antique lacquerware pieces dating from 1921 from Chiapas, Michoacan and Guerrero.

Museums in other cities in Chiapas

Museum of Palenque “Alberto Ruz L’Huillier”

On the site of one of the most important Mayan ruins in the country, the Alberto Ruz L’Huillier building has hundreds of pieces that were found during years of excavations in Palenque and allows visitors to understand why the city was so important in ancient Mexico and how its inhabitants lived.

Mexico Travel Guides

  • Buy the Mexico Routard guide on Amazon.co.uk
  • Buy Lonely Planet Mexico guide on Amazon.co.uk

Do you have questions about visiting the best museums in Chiapas? Are you planning a trip to Mexico? Ask us all your questions or send us your comments via the WhatsApp button on your right!

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