Sections of Tonalá
ARTS AND CRAFTS
ECOTOURISM AND OUTDOOR
kilometers of the present Tonalá in pre-Hispanic times
another one existed; still we can see vestiges of the Old
Church (Iglesia Vieja) dating from 1500, and were the tribe
of Nahoas lived, who named the place Tonalá, which means
warm place (Tonalli: heat and La: Abundance.) Next to the
river Tiltepec we can find some remnants of the Olmecs. The
Mexicas, around 1486, conquered several populations of the
zone in their expansionist fights towards the Soconusco and
Guatemala, including the city of Tonalá, Tonalá, was the
only Chiapanecan city that fought for the independence, with
the participation of General Mariano Matamoros.
Located at 173 km (107.5 miles) from Tuxtla Gutierrez, it is
a colorful city with many examples of coastal domestic
architecture. Located on the Pacific Ocean slopes, it is one
of Chiapas oldest coastal towns, home to a pre-Hispanic
ceremonial center of great importance. Its population is
about 75,000 inhabitants.
Tonalá offers diverse attractions, from visits to nearby
small towns, archaeological zones from the Olmec culture,
and even wonderful beaches, such as Boca del Cielo, Puerto
Arista and Paredon, making it a tourist destination without
equal in the State of Chiapas. During the last decades, the
coastal slopes have been intensely developed in terms of
economic activity - commercial, of livestock and industrial
- mainly in the city of Arriaga. There is sport fishing and
an extraordinary spectacle of birds at Isla de los Pajaros
(Island of the Birds) and at its tourist center Santa
Brigida located 32 km (20 miles) from the city of Arriaga.
Tonalá is a colorful city that has constructions of domestic
coastal style. Its social life revolves around the main
plaza, which is adorned by a stele of Teotihuacan influence.
To enjoy the coast of Chiapas, we recommend visiting the
different beaches where you would be able to appreciate the
diversity of flora and fauna in the estuary and mangrove
forests and to enjoy the different possibilities when it
comes to water sports.
ECOTOURISM AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
zone of La Sepultura: It is located in the
municipalities of Arriaga, Cintalapa, Jiquilpillas, Tonalá,
Villacorzo and Villaflores. It is a nature reserve where one
can appreciate the beauty of the lowland deciduous
rainforest. There is hiking, opportunities to contemplate
the abundance of flora and fauna, outdoor camping in
controlled sites, and thematic tours.
Puerto Arista: Located 22 km (14 miles) from the city
of Tonalá on the coastal road Tonalá-Puerto Arista. This
port is a resort, having as its main attractions: The long
beach of fine-grained gray sand, with high waves, palm
trees, simple people and the tips of the mountain range on
the distance, makes this place a refuge for escaping the
noisy life in the city. The area is excellent for swimming,
beach sports, horseback riding; motorcycle rides by the
seashore, fishing and boat trips. There are hotels from
economy class to three stars, cabins, thatched roof
restaurants, water front, port, cafeteria and a disco.
Boca del Cielo (Heaven’s Mouth): Located 38 km from
Tonalá city on the Tonalá-Puerto Arista coastal road. Here
one finds beautiful white sand, sand banks and statuary,
calm and rough water alike. This is the ideal place for
those looking for the simple pleasure of being in contact
with nature, observing the waves, the marine birds and the
rustic life of the fishermen, while enjoying the beach with
open sea. Recommended activities are: Sport fishing, boat
trips, cayuco (small indigenous canoe) trips, swimming,
water-skiing, scuba diving, photography, observation of
flora and fauna and beach sports. The zone has restaurants,
palapas, a wharf, public baths, dressing and waiting rooms,
water front and cabins.
Paredón: Located 12 km (7.5 miles) from the city of
Tonalá, on the Tonalá - Paredón road. It is one of the most
interesting places in the region, because in addition to
being a fishermen village, it also has a seafood market
specializing in estuary shrimp.
Playa del Sol: Located 13 km from Tonalá on the
Tonalá – Puerto Arista road. It is an ideal site to take a
ride in a motorbike in a gray sand beach and to be able to
enjoy the sunsets. It has restaurants.
ARCHEOLOGICAL ZONE OF IGLESIA VIEJA (OLD CHURCH):
The Iglesia Vieja Archeological Site is located above
the hills about 4 km. (2.4 miles) north of the town of
Tonalá. It has an approximate extension of 80 hectares (172
acres) and was built using the favorable natural topography
of the hill on which there are about 80 structures. The
settlement is distributed in five architectural groups, each
one consisting of large- and medium-sized platforms, temples
and pedestal bases with a construction system based in
megalithic blocks plazas and their accesses. There are also
about 30 sculptural monuments.
NOTE: There is presently
no public access due to a disposition from the INAH
(National Institute of Anthropology and History).
ATTRACTIONS AND HISTORIC
The Church of San
Francisco de Asis: Located in downtown Tonalá, this
building was constructed at beginnings of 1537 by the
Franciscan friars, and it has a façade with two bodies, a
half point arch and the access is flanked by two embedded
pilasters of smooth and molded endings. In the interior of
the sacristy there is an image of Santo Domingo, a
processional Nazarene, a virgin with the boy in arms and a
sculpture representing three sinners that are being consumed
by fire while they beg for the merci of the monk above them.
The church also features an elegant and sober altarpiece
from the XVI century, showing an axial of geometric form
made in wood, its moldings are laminated with gold leaves
and the back is gilded painting, emphasizing also the narrow
and long stone scalier that leads to its bells tower, which
is a reproduction of the crown of the Kings of Spain. The
atrium is a corridor with an arcade with lights and iron
pews in the colonial style.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
crafts of this region are the glazed ceramics.
FESTIVALS AND TRADITIONS
Chiapas is tradition,
folklore, dance and mainly music of marimba in its
innumerable fairs and celebrations that are celebrated in
the course of the year in different cities; celebrating
normally its patron saint.
January 1, New Year's Festivities,
celebration of Masses, parades and fireworks.
Holy Week (March or April), processions,
celebration of masses throughout the state. In some
towns, the burning of Judas ritual takes place -
represented by paper-maché figures and cartoons of
historical or contemporary personalities.
September 14, celebration of the
federation between Chiapas and Mexico.
September 16 is National Independence
Day, celebrated with the traditional ceremony of "El
Grito" (the Shout for Independence).
From September 24 to October 8 are the
festivities for San Francisco, with cultural, sporting
and agricultural events and special masses.
November 1 and 2 are All Saints Day and
Day of the Dead. Offerings are placed at the graves of
the deceased to welcome and summon their souls, which
are believed to return during these days. The offerings
include traditional meals placed on altars inside the
houses along with candles and flowers, or at the graves
where families spend the day praying.
December 12 is the festival of the Patron
Saint of all Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrated
with masses, serenades and pilgrimages.
In terms of
gastronomy and Chiapas being so diverse, the easiest way to
point out the local cuisine here would be to say everything
based on fresh and succulent seafood.
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