Chiapas  is one of the most resource-rich states in Mexico: It’s the number-one producer of coffee, number two in overall agricultural production (mostly bananas, cacao, and corn), and number four in crude oil and natural gas, with massive untapped deposits believed to exist in the Lacandón jungle. Three massive dams in Chiapas—one of which is the country’s largest—generate about 50 percent of Mexico’s hydroelectric power, and the state contains 40 percent of the country’s fresh water. Cattle ranching and timber harvesting have been significant activities since the 19th century, though both have come under fire for their environmental impact.
Chiapas’s archaeological, colonial, and natural attractions draw a growing number of tourists every year, and tourism development is a motivating factor for a number of current and proposed capital projects, including construction of a toll road between Palenque  and San Cristóbal .
Despite its extraordinary natural resources, Chiapas  still ranks as the poorest state in the union. Many families live on less than US$250 per month, and a staggering 94 of Chiapas’s 118 municipalities are classified as being on or below the poverty line.