Captivating Cascadas Roberto Barrios

March 13, 2024
March 12, 2024

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Chiapas is a southern state in Mexico famous for its natural wonders hidden in the lush jungle. The climate here is hot and humid most time of the year, which makes it a perfect place for exploring waterfalls.

Cascadas Roberto Barrios is one of the most beautiful series of waterfalls we have ever seen. It’s a complex of six waterfalls with beautiful emerald blue pools you can swim in.

They are less crowded than nearby waterfalls Misol Ha and Agua Azul. But they are definitely gaining fame for their beauty and accessibility.

One of the waterfalls at Cascadas Roberto Barrios in Chiapas, Mexico.

When to visit Cascadas Roberto Barrios

The waterfalls look the prettiest during the dry season, which is from November to April. We visited during March.

If you visit during the wet season, the waterfalls are stronger but the water is a brown colour rather than blue that you can see in our pictures. We have been told that the water turns brown especially during July and August.

Local boys are standing on the edge of one of the waterfalls at Cascadas Roberto Barrios in Chiapas, Mexico.

How to get there

There are many tour operators that you can talk to when you're in Palenque. You can also book a tour online from the options below.

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If you are travelling with a tour, you will most likely be taken to Cascadas Valle de Bascan. Which is at the same place, but on the other side of the river. They have a different entrance and owner.

Only this side will offer you a life vest for rent. We hope this will change in the future.

However, we travelled there with a collectivo (small private bus) which was quite easy and gave us complete freedom. You can take a collectivo in Palenque just outside Mercado Guadalupe. From our experience, it was absolutely safe.

You will be driving through the jungle, safe communities, and some farm land most of the time.
There are two types of collectivos that you can take. One is a mini van, the most common transportation in Mexico. The other one is a truck also called a 'chicken bus', and we're sure you can guess why!

We’ve experienced both options and prefer the truck if the weather is good. You can enjoy the road more in the open air. Most collectivos don’t have air-conditioning and on a hot day you will be sweating!

Either option costs 70 pesos per person. But this price may change with inflation.

There are drivers yelling the name of the waterfalls to attract people to their service. It’s a 40-minute journey which takes you along a windy road that is a journey in itself!

The collectivo will drop you off at the entrance to a small village. It'a short walk from there to the waterfalls.

A composite image showing the small hut at the entrance to Cascadas Roberto Barrios and the fence leading to the local village.g

Entrance fee

The entrance fee in March 2024 was only 40 pesos per person. Note the entrance fee is valid only for one day. If you stay in the village and want to go to the waterfalls again the following day, you will have to pay again.

Because the waterfalls are located on the land of the Zapatistas, the money goes directly to the local community.

One of the friendly locals at the village near Cascadas Roberto Barrios.
Writing on a building's white wall in the village near Cascadas Roberto Barrios explaining it's in a Maya area autonomously governed by the Zapatistas.

After you pay the entrance fee at a small bungalow, you will see a church to your left when you exit. That’s where you need to head towards. There is only one road, so it's pretty straight forward where to go next.

The church on the side and road leading to the waterfalls at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

It’s about 200 meters from where you buy your ticket to the entrance of the waterfalls. On the way you will meet friendly locals that sell handmade clothes, fruits, and drinks.

This is a great place to purchase any souvenirs you may have on your shopping list. You would be buying them directly from the artisan, which would ensure all your money is going to support them and their local community.

Some locally made tops hanging on a line at the village near Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

Staying overnight

At the very beginning of the track, you will see a sign offering food and accommodation at El Turco. We highly recommend to stay there overnight to get the full experience.

El Turco has very simple homestay-style accommodation at a very affordable price.

The accommodation available at El Turco, a homestay located at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

The host's name is Manuel Turco Perez. You can contact him on +52 916 104 0835.

His family will prepare you authentic Mexican meals for a very reasonable amount of money. We highly recommend to eat there even if you decide not to stay overnight.

We had the opportunity do do both a day trip and and stay there overnight. We loved it so much the first time that we went back and spent a night with Manuel and his lovely family.

A composite image showing Manuel Turco Perez's wife preparing food and his daughter outside El Turco homestay at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

Manuel is also a wood master and makes amazing pieces. The trees he is using are sustainably sourced. He told me that he uses only the fallen trees in the jungle near by.

You can see his work around the restaurant. Have a look in his studio too, and you will also most likely see him working with the wood.

A composite image of Manuel Turco Perez standing with some wood and a black and white portrait image of Manuel, the host of El Turco homestay at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

Our experience at Cascadas Roberto Barrios

Once you start down the track, it doesn’t take long before you see your first waterfall.

The first waterfall at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

We advise you to see them all first and then pick one or two for a swim. We were blown away with the the colour of the water and how unique and beautiful each waterfall was.

A composite image showing Janna laying on top of the second waterfall and the pool at the bottom of this waterfall at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

Our favourites were waterfall numbers three, four and five.

The way the water flows on the limestone rocks creates an undulating surface with a kind of sticky effect, so you can actually walk on them. We would only recommend doing it at waterfall number three on the other side of the river because that waterfall has a rope that you can hold onto.

You can get there by crossing at the beginning of that waterfall. You will see steps going down just after the second waterfall, follow the path and with the help of tree roots you can reach the pool at the third waterfall.

From there, you can simply walk to the other side through the water. Be careful, as some parts can be a bit more slippery!

A composite image showing Janna walking down the stairs to the main pool and a close up of the limestone rocks under the cascading water at the third waterfall at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

There are also some strong currents at the main waterfalls, and some of the pools are surprisingly deep. If you aren't a good swimmer, stick to the smaller pools or wear a life jacket.

At waterfall number five you will see a large pool. This is the biggest place to have a swim, but the current there is strong so it’s important to be close to the shore. You can get there by simply continuing going down the track, and there are a few other places where you can swim around that pool.

A composite image showing Janna laying on the rocks around pools of water and an aerial view of Janna standing on the rocks at waterfall number five at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

There was an accident while we were there. We don’t want to scare you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Before jumping anywhere, you should ask locals if it's safe or even better see how deep it is yourself before proceeding. Some waterfalls have hidden rocks underneath and it can be very dangerous to dive or jump in there.

However if you are careful, you will have a great time!

The pools looks emerald blue from above. They remind me of the hot springs in Pamukkale in Turkey and the limestone waterfalls near Chiang Mai in Thailand, which are actually called 'Sticky Waterfalls'.

The official closing time for the waterfalls is 5 PM, but if you stay overnight you can swim there until sunset. You will see some locals coming down to the river, but other than that you will have the place pretty much to yourself.

Big flocks of birds came out as well. They made a crazy noise and created even more magic for us.

A composite image showing Cascadas Roberto Barrios at sunset from above, and a flock of birds flying in the sky above.

The last collectivo leaves between four to five o’clock, so most tourists are gone by around 3:30 PM. It was a truly beautiful experience to see the sunset while soaking in the beautiful blue pools.

Sunset at Cascadas Roberto Barrios with a bird flying above the jungle.

After sunset, we headed back to Manuel’s place before it got too dark. We had delicious fresh vegetarian empanadas handmade by his wife and daughter.

Manuel's family making us dinner at El Turco homestay at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.
A composite image showing the vegetarian empanadas we had for dinner and the host's son watching his meal being cooked at El Turco homestay at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

If you practice yoga, we recommend you bring your yoga mat as there is a platform from which you have an amazing view. It’s a nice way to start the day.

In the early morning we spotted some howler monkeys outside our bungalows. They were really close and were just enjoying the leaves from one of the trees.

They seemed to be very comfortable with humans and dogs, but we we kept our distance so we didn't disturb them. There were two baby monkeys too that were so cute and very playful.

A composite image showing a howler monkey swinging in a tree near the accommodation at Cascadas Roberto Barrios and a close up of the howler monkey's face as he his sitting in the tree..

We went for our last swim before the first tourists started to arrive at around 10 AM. The light was coming through the jungle and once again we were amazed by the beauty of this place.

The morning light coming through the jungle and lighting up one of the waterfalls at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

This time we paid the entrance fee near the bathrooms.

We decided to explore the other side of the river.
The land on the other side has a different owner, so be prepared to pay another fee if you meet someone. We have been told that it’s also around 40 pesos.

Janna standing on the limestone rocks at the top of one of the waterfalls as she walks to the other side of the river.

The best part for us was the area around the third waterfall, but we still preferred the other side where we came from originally.

A composite image showing Janna kneeling in front of a waterfall and walking along the limestone rocks around some smaller pools just before sunset at Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

If you're visiting the Maya ruins of Palenque, make sure you spare a day or two to visit these waterfalls and the nearby village. We promise you won't regret it!

Remember that by spending your money in a small community, you are supporting the locals who live there.

A local man walks down the main street in the small village near Cascadas Roberto Barrios.

Please make sure to leave no trace as you explore the area. There are garbage bins along the track to make it easier. If you have any food waste after a picnic, you can feed the chickens at Manuel’s place!

Travel tip: Bring your filtered reusable water bottle and refill it straight from the waterfalls to stay hydrated!

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