How to Travel with Children to Chiapas, Mexico
Chiapas, Mexico, provides a diversity of adventures for people traveling with children. The hub city of San Cristobal de las Casas serves as a base for excursions ranging from regional markets and historic sites to day trips to indigenous villages, archaeological ruins and natural wonders. Traveling to and through Chiapas with children has some unique challenges that advance preparations can ease.
Things You’ll Need:
- Bug repellent
Long-sleeved cotton shirts
- Bug repellent
- Hand sanitizer
- Long-sleeved cotton shirts
- Lightweight pants
Learn some basic Spanish phrases. Though many indigenous people in Chiapas speak other languages, Spanish is the language that connects the diverse people of the region. You and your children can use restaurant Spanish to make your way through markets and order meals. Basic greetings and pleasantries can get you better prices at street stalls, tour agencies and even hotels. Have your children begin all conversations with "buenos dias (good day)," "buenas tardes (good afternoon)" or "buenas noches (good evening)" when they meet local children.
Keep your children's hands clean. One of the easiest ways to fall ill in the less-developed state of Chiapas is through touching unclean things before eating. Children tend to explore with their hands, so rather than limit their curiosity, reach for the hand-cleaning gel before all meals and after all bathroom trips. Some smaller restaurants and places off the beaten track may have rough bathroom facilities, so hand-cleaning gel comes in useful here as well. Check street food and market vendors for clean hands and clean preparation practices before partaking in local specialties such as tamales and plantains.
Practice bug-repelling strategies. San Cristobal's location at a higher altitude means that mosquitoes are less of a menace, but as you get lower in altitude, the dangers of dengue increase. When hiking or walking through underbrush, jungle areas or near stagnant bodies of water, protect your and your children's extremities with long-sleeved but lightweight shirts and pants. You can tuck pant legs into socks for extra protection. Hotels in Chiapas do not typically have screens on windows and doors, so mosquito prevention at nighttime may also be necessary. Use bug repellent or sleep at a hotel that provides mosquito nets.
Protect children from the effects of the sun. Keep a steady supply of bottled water to avoid dehydration. Many sections of Chiapas may be at a higher altitude than places to which your children are accustomed, so the air is thinner and the sun stronger. A wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen keep children safe. Remember that harmful rays of sunlight can peep through trees and clouds.
Tips & Warnings
Allow time for breaks and rests, particularly when hiking at altitude.
Scout out plazas and parks for potential hazards such as broken pavement, open holes and broken equipment.
Article Written By Nina Makofsky
Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.
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