Hot and busy, though not unpleasant, Tonalá is the hub of the coastal region’s ranching and agricultural activity, and known in particular as the mango capital of Chiapas for the extensive orchards nearby.
For travelers, Tonalá is probably better known as a gateway—or at least a turnoff—to the beach towns of Puerto Arista and Boca del Cielo. It’s also a practical and agreeable place to break up a trip, with reliable hotels, restaurants, and bus service, and an attractive central plaza.
Getting to Tonalá
Tonalá’s main bus terminal (Av. Hidalgo at Calle 12 de Octubre, tel. 966/663-0540) is six blocks west of the center of town, and has service to Arriaga, Cintalapa, Pijijiapán, Tapachula, and Tuxtla Gutiérrez.
Combis provide service to the beach. Those to Puerto Arista (US$1.20, 30 mins) leave every 15 minutes from a stop on Avenida Matamoros between Calles 5 de Mayo and 20 de Marzo, about five blocks southeast of the center. For Boca del Cielo (US$2, 1 hr) the stop is one block down, on Avenida Juárez between the same cross streets. Both run roughly every 15–30 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition