Chiapas is recognized worldwide for its great natural wealth and its cultural importance. The state is home to diverse climates, ecosystems, and various indigenous communities such as Tzotzil, Lacandon, Maya, Tzeltal and the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), among others. 

From day one, the students explored the impressive–and cold–Roberto Barrios waterfalls. They climbed and swam, or as they say in Mexico, "echarse un chapuzón" surrounded by lush, green jungle.

"It was an exhilarating, once-in-a-lifetime experience" -Conley, Center College student

They also visited Palenque, an important archaeological site for the ancient Maya. This ancient city was founded 100 years BC. Now, Palenque attracts the curiosity of hundreds of visitors from various cultures and countries, which helped secure its status as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. 

At night, the students stayed in San Cristobal de las Casas, a small mountain city that has all kinds of attractions: shops, museums, restaurants, markets, and even more historical sites. San Cristobal is also a great jumping off point to visit many other towns and cities. 

During the trip, the students had the opportunity to talk with locals from the region and with human rights organizations that have worked with communities such as Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula for more than 20 years. The students rode on horseback to visit Zinacantan, where they met talented women weavers who, through textile art, give testimony of life, memory, and biocultural knowledge of the region.

"Chiapas was very interesting. I learned a lot about plants and visited a traditional medicine museum" - Roxana, Center College student

Finally, to end the trip with a bang, the students visited Comalcalco in Tabasco. It is said that its name in Mayan means "Heaven Surrounded". There, the students explored more important sites of Mesoamerican civilizations and began their journey back to Merida.

For Tsikbal it is critical that we foster contact with hundreds of colors, flavors, textures, sounds, animals, landscapes and people from the region, in order to build intercultural relationships. It is essential the students learn to look beyond texts and classrooms, so knowledge becomes meaningful and transcends borders.