Puerto Chiapas, Mexico
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The southernmost port on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Chiapas is named for the state in which it is located. It is relatively new, built in 1975, and is the primary hub from which the region’s agricultural goods, including coffee, are sent abroad. For travelers arriving by cruise ship, the town of Puerto Chiapas is a jumping-off point to explore surrounding areas, including Tapachula, the second-largest city in the state of Chiapas. In addition to visiting the coffee estates and banana and cacao plantations of the area, day trips include excursions to Maya sites such as Izapa. Although not as well known as some of the Maya sites of southern and eastern Mexico, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Chichén Itzá, Izapa is impressive nonetheless. In addition to its interesting location—it sits along a river and is aligned with a volcano (the sixth-tallest mountain in Mexico)—archaeologists have found numerous stelae and evidence that it was the largest Maya site in Chiapas. While in the area, don’t miss the opportunity to sample the cuisine of Chiapas, which is influenced heavily by the Maya. One typical dish is tasajo, a thinly sliced beef steak marinated in a sauce made with achiote (also known as annatto) and chili.