This Mexican Town Is A Well Kept Secret Full Of Character And Scenic Views

Correction 2/7/24: A previous version of this article described Mexico as a Central American country. Mexico is in North America, not Central America.

There's something special about Mexico. Whether it's the country's many budget-friendly cities, luxurious towns, or seaside oases perfect for an unplugged beach vacation, Mexico is the gift that keeps on giving in terms of culture, adventure, and fun.

One of the most popular destinations for U.S. travelers — with nearly 40 million visitors crossing over to explore the North American country throughout the year — Mexico has cemented itself as a prime spot for anyone looking to relax and explore without going too far from home.

However, in between the beachfront parties of Cancun and the vibrant food scene in Mexico City, it's the country's hidden gem towns that steal travelers' hearts. One of these is the often overlooked Comitán de Dominguez, or Comitán, for short. Located in the state of Chiapas, the town was officially named a "Pueblo Mágico" in 2012, boosting its popularity among locals who want to soak up the local history and marvel at its colonial architecture.

Exploring Comitán de Dominguez

Often referred to as the birthplace of Chiapas' independence, Comitán is brimming with history, cultural significance, and natural beauty. One of the most important sites in town is the zócalo — or main square — which is home to the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzmán (Santo Domingo de Guzmán Temple). Built between the 16th and 17th centuries, the church is the main focal point for locals and visitors alike. A few steps away, and crossing through the Parque Central Benito Juárez, the Palacio Municipal (Municipal Palace) is also a must-see for art lovers. Inside, visitors can take a closer look at a mural depicting the mythical story of how Chiapas came to be.

The town's museums also can't be missed. First, there's the Museo Arqueológico de Comitán (Archeological Museum), with three rooms that house archeological artifacts found in the region. Then, the Museo de Arte (Art Museum) holds an extensive collection of contemporary Mexican paintings, sculptures, and more. Lastly, there's the Centro Cultural Rosario Castellanos (Cultural Center) — located in the building of an old convent — which regularly hosts workshops, concerts, and exhibitions.

For nature lovers, the Lagos de Montebello (Montebello Lakes) — just an hour away — offer picturesque views of more than 50 lakes dotted around on the Guatemala border. Whether you hire a boat or choose to walk around on your own, visiting the area makes for a great day outside.

Planning your visit to Comitán

The easiest way to reach Comitán is by flying into Tuxtla Gutiérrez — Chiapas' capital — and taking a local bus or hiring a private driver once you've landed. The town is located roughly 92 miles south, and the drive to Comitán should take a little over three hours, though that may vary based on your method of transportation. Once in town, getting around is easy. While there are plenty of taxis willing to take you where you want to go, car rental is also incredibly affordable and offers some added flexibility to your travels. This is especially helpful if you're planning to visit the Lagos de Montebello or the nearby Tenam Puente archeological site, located just 20 minutes outside of town.

As for the best time to visit Comitán, you'll want to plan your trip between November and February, when the average temperature during the day is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and the rainy season has come to an end. If you don't mind the heat, traveling to Comitán between March and May is also a great option. Plus, this period coincides with the town's Festival Internacional Rosario Castellanos, a cultural celebration that includes parties and art exhibitions and takes place at the beginning of May. 

Whether you're in it for the food, the parties, or the culture, this year is already starting to look like the best time to book a Mexico vacation — so why not add Comitán de Dominguez to your itinerary?