Grutas de Rancho Nuevo
We did not book enough time at this place. There are caves to explore, horses to ride, different foods to try, a market with indigenous goods for souvenir shopping and best of all a playground with a massive slide designed for adults. Skip to the end for the summary if you don’t have time to read this.
This ecotourist park is run by a community organisation known as an ejidal. Ejidals are based on the Aztec Calpulli organisation which are small organisational communities that control the land and are collectively responsible for the area. It costs 10 pesos per person over six to enter.
The park itself is a pine forest and is a great place for a picnic and has lots of barbecue sites. We saw many families parked next to a bbq having lunch. Some had even put up a hammock to laze on.
The ranch has quite a few horses so we didn’t have to wait long for two to become available. Ajay and Giselle went for a half hour ride through the pine forest. I don’t remember how much they paid per person but it was not costly at all.
Carmelo and I took Kenzo to the playground to have a play while Lui slept snugly in my arms.
But the colours of the market place distracted me and we found ourselves browsing local souvenirs. Carmelo picked up obsidian magnets. Obsidian is one of the locally mined stones in Chiapas.
Once Giselle and Ajay and finished we went to the food hall to eat. It had lots of food options to suit American and Mexican tastes.
After we ate, we tried out the concrete slides. There were two sets, one for children and one for adults. In the photo you can see me sliding down the adult set of slides holding Kenzo. I’m sitting on a flattened coke bottle to make the ride sliperrier. This slide was such a bonus. You can also see the slide behind Kenzo on the green posts.
The caves are a 20 peso entry fee for over five year olds. It has a proper pathway to journey deep down into it. There are stunning stalactites and stalagmites to view some of which are still growing as water seeps in from above.
Once you reach the end of the cave there is an option to venture deeper down for 30 pesos per person. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to check this out but apparently you can see crystals in there.
What was amazing was the church that was setup for the most celebrated feast day in Mexico, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
This church was decorated as per local indigenous traditions for sacred ceremonies. There were pineneedles on the ground fresh from the pine trees surrounding the area. There were pineapples, banana bunches and other fruits hanging around the edge of the tent. There were Mexican coloured decorations inside. And there were lots and lots of flowers everywhere as well as many images of Mary.
Since it was the 12th of December we had the opportunity of seeing pilgrims arrive here on their journey to San Cristobal, some on foot, many on motorbikes and still more on buses.
This place is 12km from the city and is accessible from highway 190 the same highway that leads to Comitan.
There are colectivos that go past Nuevo Rancho but we honestly couldn’t be bothered with them. We would have had to catch a taxi to the main highway and then catch the colectivo. Then once we got out of the colectivo we would have had to walk about twenty minutes to reach the ranch. Instead we took a taxi for 150 pesos which took us all the way to the main attraction.
I didn’t see any taxis waiting there so perhaps you can call for one but we organised the same taxi to pick us up a few hours later. Unfortunately he couldn’t enter the park to pick us up so he waited at the gate which was a ten minute walk for us once we had finished up.
I highly recommend allocating three to four hours here. We booked two and a half hours and found it was not enough. And definitely try the concrete slide!
-150 pesos by taxi from Centro to get here however there is the option of a colectivo
– 10 pesos to enter the park per person over five years old
– 20 pesos per person to enter the caves and 30 pesos to see the crystals deeper down
– Horse riding for all levels is available taking you through the pine forest
– A playground for little ones and big slides for adults is an added bonus
– A food hall to suit all aged children and the parents
– Markets to browse and find some warm clothing or souvenirs
– Book a taxi to pick you up at the end because there were no taxis waiting around to take you back