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Zorba

Jan 6, 2010, 5:01 PM

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Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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I just made my first trip to Tuxtla Gutierrez and was totally unimpressed (excluding the surrounding attractions of course). The city itself is blah. Tapachula is way more colorful and has much more character. Tapachula is no paradise, but its zocalo and center are far more interesting.


(This post was edited by Zorba on Jan 6, 2010, 6:03 PM)



Hound Dog

Jan 6, 2010, 5:37 PM

Post #2 of 19 (12856 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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One´s first visit to Tuxtla Gutierrez is destined to disappoint simply because this large tropical city´s charms are not easily discerned in a short initial visit. The city is a boom town and has the raw edges of a place that grew from a tiny cow town to a large metropolis in short order. The city sits in a broad valley with magnificent hills on each side providing splendid views but if one simply drives through the city on its northern or southern libramientos or through the central city, one will miss the city´s charming vistas and think that they have just driven through a big, congested city lacking grace. Well, maybe grace is not descriptive of Tuxtla one way or the other. Tuxtla is a rawboned, overgrown tropical city with many great restaurants, some with not only very good food but magnificent views from dining terraces but Tuxtla is a lot like Betty Sue Bogan - you have to explore patiently over time to discover her treasures.

I have yet to visit Tapachula so you´ve got me there. I understand the city has a large Chinese population and many Chinese restaurants but I´d be willing to bet there is not one you would return to after your first meal if you know anything about really good Chinese food.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jan 6, 2010, 5:39 PM)


Zorba

Jan 6, 2010, 5:55 PM

Post #3 of 19 (12852 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Youre right Dawg. I only spent 4 days there. I am referring to the center specifically. You should make the short trip to Tapachula. I think you would like the zocalo there. If you go on the right day (Sunday for example) it should be teeming with both Mexicans and migrants. If you have time, take the short drive up the libre to Pijijiapan. It's a nice drive with lush mountains all around. You might even go as far as the estero in Pijijiapan where you can get some seafood and take a trip up the river or hit the ocean side.


(This post was edited by Zorba on Jan 6, 2010, 6:04 PM)


Hound Dog

Jan 6, 2010, 7:33 PM

Post #4 of 19 (12836 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Zorba:

Thanks for the ideas. We will be in Chiapas soon on our annual sojourn to San Cristóbal and plan to visit Tapachula and the Ruta del Cafe plus other points of interest in the Soconusco in February/March. While we have lived part of each year in Chiapas since 2006, we have always, in the past, visited regions other than the Soconusco so this year we will be visiting the Tapachula area and heading up the coast to Tonalá and the northern Chiapas coast around the Puerto Arista area including Boca del Cielo. I´ll report back about the trip if I survive.


joannar

Jan 8, 2010, 6:51 AM

Post #5 of 19 (12768 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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When I arrived in Chiapas in 1997, my first official stop was San Cristobal. I loved it so much I stayed for a year, met my husband and thought I would never leave. I couldn´t find a decent job so we had to migrate down the mountain to Tuxtla where my husband is from. I was devastated. It was hot, dirty, noisy, and no charm (or so I thought). I complained for almost a year and my husband finally gave in to moving to Chiapa de Corzo. I settled in so quickly here, that months would go by without going to Tuxtla. Over the years. however, I have really come to love it. The restaurants are part of it, the movies, places for my kids to play and do after school things, conveniences that I don´t have here in Chiapa. I have been to Tapachula a couple of times and I think it is prettier than Tuxtla, and somehow has the same feel to it. It isn´t a lovely town, but definitely has its charm. I have yet to have a good Chinese meal there! I am from the coast myself, so Tapachula makes me happy just know that it is hop away from the beach. Go to Playa Linda, everytime I have gone, not a soul on the beach, and good seafood.


Zorba

Jan 8, 2010, 9:25 AM

Post #6 of 19 (12749 views)

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Re: [joannar] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Hi Joannar, I tried the Chinese food once and it was nothing to write home about for sure. Tapachula does have an interesting migrant history though what with its proximity to the Guatemalan border, the German cafetaleros and the Japanese and Chinese immigrants.

I agree Tapachula is nothing like the other beautiful cities and towns in Mexico but its layout seems nicer than Tuxtla to me. Due to its location and the development of Puerto Chiapas, I have a feeling that Tapachula will only get better and receive more investment in the future. I believe economically it is already more important than Tuxtla. I definitely preferred the climate in Tuxtla. The heat and humidity in Tapachula can be oppressive. Tuxtla not so much so. The climate, however, is part of what makes the Tapa area so productive. If you want to escape the heat in Tapachula, you can make the half hour drive to places like Union Juarez where the coffee plantations thrive. Recently, I had one of the best cuts of Argentinian steak that I have ever had in my life up there. It melted in the mouth. I try to stay out of Tapachula as much as possible because of the heat since my ranch has a pleasant breeze that comes down from the mountains in the morning or from the coast in the afternoon. The mosquitos, however, are worse.


Hound Dog

Jan 8, 2010, 9:53 AM

Post #7 of 19 (12747 views)

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Re: [joannar] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Thank you, Joannar:

It´s good to hear from someone who has experienced, at length, the Jovel Valley, Chiapa de Corzo (which, if I could find a place overlooking the Rio Grijalva would be my favorite town down there) and Tuxtla Gutierrez. At first encounter, Tuxtla has a rawboned, tropical boomtown feel and why not. Only a few years ago there were about 12,000 people in a valley now occupied by anywhere from 600,000 to 1,000,000 souls. A city can´t grow like Topsy and still have the veneer of old age. Once we got to know the frenetic city better its charms became apparent to us. Some very fine restaurants (far superior in my opinion than San Cristóbal) , excellent upscale shopping centers and first run movie houses to say nothing of marimba concerts and tropical ambience. So, it´s on the warm and humid side. As we remember from Some Like It Hot; "Nobody´s perfect."

I am not surprised to read your comment that the Chinese food in Tapachula was not impressive. The chinese community in the Tapachula area consists of the descendants of semi-slave laborers from Canton who came to build the railroads just like in California. Like bachelors everywhere, most could not cook and today both in Jalisco and Chiapas we have the infamous Chinese buffet with its cheap and awful recycled food cooked for an undiscerning western trailer park palate and served on a steam table until it´s gone no matter how long that takes. We´ll, no doubt, skip that experience when we are in Tapachula and go for local cuisine.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jan 8, 2010, 11:13 AM)


Hound Dog

Jan 8, 2010, 10:06 AM

Post #8 of 19 (12743 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Hi Joannar, I tried the Chinese food once and it was nothing to write home about for sure. Tapachula does have an interesting migrant history though what with its proximity to the Guatemalan border, the German cafetaleros and the Japanese and Chinese immigrants.

I agree Tapachula is nothing like the other beautiful cities and towns in Mexico but its layout seems nicer than Tuxtla to me. Due to its location and the development of Puerto Chiapas, I have a feeling that Tapachula will only get better and receive more investment in the future. I believe economically it is already more important than Tuxtla. I definitely preferred the climate in Tuxtla. The heat and humidity in Tapachula can be oppressive. Tuxtla not so much so. The climate, however, is part of what makes the Tapa area so productive. If you want to escape the heat in Tapachula, you can make the half hour drive to places like Union Juarez where the coffee plantations thrive. Recently, I had one of the best cuts of Argentinian steak that I have ever had in my life up there. It melted in the mouth. I try to stay out of Tapachula as much as possible because of the heat since my ranch has a pleasant breeze that comes down from the mountains in the morning or from the coast in the afternoon. The mosquitos, however, are worse.


OK, Zorba; that´s it, now you have incurred an internet obligation. Dawg and his darlin´ wife will be heading for Tapachula and the Ruta del Cafe this winter, sometime around February or March after we have settled into our San Cristóbal digs and will be doing the Soconusco big time. At one point on our journey we plan to stay in one of those old German coffee plantations and would like your recommendation as to a fun place with decent German food if that is not an aximoron. We also want to know the name of that Argentinian restaurant thereabouts.

One other thing. It´s a long drive over the inland low-country autopista from Tapachula to Tonalá with many opportunities to take side trips to the sea. Any side trips down rural lanes to the ocean in particular you would recommend in particular between Puerto Chiapas and Puerto Arista?


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jan 8, 2010, 10:08 AM)


La Isla


Jan 8, 2010, 10:30 AM

Post #9 of 19 (12733 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Quote
I am not surprised to read your comment that the Chinese food in Tapachula was not impressive. The chinese community in the Tapachula area consists of the descendants of semi-slave laborers from Canton who came to to build the railroads just like in California. Like bachelors everywhere, most could not cook and today both in Jalisco and Chiapas we have the infamous Chinese buffet with its cheap and awful food cooked for an undiscerning western trailer park palate. ..


We also have those awful Chinese buffet eating establishments in Mexico City. I remember the first time I had lunch in one in the Centro Histórico and how disappointed I was in the greasy bland food, with no Chinese mustard available to give it a semblance of taste! I now give them a wide berth and treat myself to street tacos instead. Thanks for the explanation of why the food is so bad. It´s even worse than the Cantonese-style Chinese food I actually enjoyed as a child in Philadelphia in the 1950s and 1960s.


Hound Dog

Jan 8, 2010, 11:26 AM

Post #10 of 19 (12727 views)

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Re: [La Isla] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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I think what happens, La Isla, is that folks who don´t know wonderful and complex Chinese cooking have no basis upon which to compare great Chinese cuisine, which is sublime, with the dreadful Chinese food one is served in most of the U.S. and Mexico based on modified Cantonese cooking or the ersatz regional cooking from other points in China because they have no idea what they are missing. When my wife, who is French and I, who am American, used to eat at a certain Chinese restaurant in Mobile when we first married in the early 70s, we never thought the food was great but it seemed OK to us at that Annie Greensprings post-sophomoric time of life. Today we would never dream of eating that crap.

Would anyone reading this post order Mexican food in the region they used to call Canton or the cafes of Paris? I think not unless they need a head check.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jan 8, 2010, 11:29 AM)


Zorba

Jan 8, 2010, 11:58 AM

Post #11 of 19 (12717 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Hmmm. Unfortunately, Dawg I am still exploring the region myself. I have bought land there but for the moment only get a chance to stay there a couple of months out of the year as I am still working to save up my nest egg. I should know considerably more within the next couple of years and will be there permanently in a few more. If I were settled there now I would gladly show you around.

Here is what I do know:

Check out the Zocalo on a Sunday. Like I said, it should have an interesting vibe.

Playa Linda is another good recommendation. You will have the entire beach which stretches for miles to yourself.

Check out this site for more info: http://soconusco.com/. For example, they recommend a place for some good tamales which shouldnt be missed: http://www.soconusco.com/...esdonadora/index.htm

You can also drive out to Barra de San Jose (head out to Mazatan just outside of Tapachula) where you will drive through an agricultural area and eventually reach the estero. However, if you can make it to the estero in Pijijapan that would be better. I think the one in Pijijiapan is nicer. See if you can get a lancha to take you up the river and into the mangalares. Pijijiapan is kind of half way up the coast so it should by typical of what you will find. Have a look in Google maps and you can see the lay of the land/coast.

I recently drove on the libre from Tapachula all the way to Arriaga and onto San Cristobal on the couta. It was a beautiful drive up to Pijijapan with lush mountains, rivers and ranches on either side. The libre is double laned all the way so its nice to not have any oncoming traffic. Other than Pijijiapan I havent investigated that rough Pacific coast of Chiapas yet myself.

I have been to Union Juarez only twice, but I do remember a prominent German style home that had a nice view and a restaurant. I believe it has rooms as well. Here is a good article on it and things to do in the surrounding area:

http://www.oem.com.mx/...r/notas/n1452438.htm

This site give a phone number that you can try for a reservation (Santo Domingo). Shouldnt be a problem since you are going during low season. Im sure you could ask there about going into a finca and seeing and learning more about the coffee making process, etc. It's a good starting point at least.

http://www.directoriodehotelesmexico.com/...-mexico.php?idCd=771

Some Mexican friends drove me to the Argentinian place at night, so I cant say exactly where it is. However, I will send them off an email about where exactly the restaurant is. It isnt a fancy place at all, but the meat was damn good. Im sure there are some good restaurants in Tapa as well, but I havent eaten out much there. I can ask about them though.

Since you dont seem to be leaving for another month or so, I should be able to get some better info to you from my friends there before you leave.


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jan 8, 2010, 12:04 PM)


Zorba

Jan 8, 2010, 12:19 PM

Post #12 of 19 (12705 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Umm. Why does it say my post was edited by Rolly?


Rolly


Jan 8, 2010, 12:37 PM

Post #13 of 19 (12701 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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I regularly edit posts that contain unactivated URLs to make them clickable (light up). I don't alter content.

Rolly Pirate


Hound Dog

Jan 8, 2010, 12:49 PM

Post #14 of 19 (12694 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Thanks Zorba. We actually leave Sunday the 10th of January but we will be checking Mexconnect as I am sure others who wish to venture about the Soconusco will be as well. Points of interest noted and we will be checking them out plus sending back our own experiences.

After six months at "Lakeside", it will be good to return to Mexico.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jan 8, 2010, 12:50 PM)


Zorba

Jan 8, 2010, 1:06 PM

Post #15 of 19 (12687 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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I regularly edit posts that contain unactivated URLs to make them clickable (light up). I don't alter content.

Rolly

I see. Thanks !



(This post was edited by Zorba on Jan 8, 2010, 1:06 PM)


Zorba

Jan 9, 2010, 7:38 AM

Post #16 of 19 (12627 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Dawg, here are the directions to the restaurant. Dont be looking for a big establishment. It is kind of like a family restaurant type thing on the side of the road. Nothing fancy, but I loved the big slab of meat they gave me and the garlic table salsa.

"El nombre del restaurant es "Villa Union" y la forma de llegar desde Tapachula es la siguiente: primero van a tomar la carretera a Talisman despues van a entrar en el desvio hacia Cacahoatan y Union Juarez, a orilla de carretera van a encontrar varios poblados (conocidos como ejidos) la carne de Argentina la pueden encontrar frente al ejido 11 de Abril."


Hound Dog

Jan 9, 2010, 8:29 AM

Post #17 of 19 (12618 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Thanks, Zorba. We will try this place.

By the way, Barbequed rabbit is big in San Cristóbal and they have other unique types of food that are wonderful including the world´s best homemade tamales. Look us up if you are in our burg.


Zorba

Jan 9, 2010, 9:30 AM

Post #18 of 19 (12603 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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I will do that, Dawg. Thank you. BBQ Rabbit. Mmmmm. I was very impressed with San Cristobal. I had only been there briefly once before. There is so much culture and history packed into such a small area. Every corner has something. I picked up some nice amber, my new favorite thing I think. I will look you up next time. Please post your Socunusco experiences when youve returned!


Zorba

Jan 11, 2010, 5:02 PM

Post #19 of 19 (12521 views)

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Re: [Zorba] Tapachula vs. Tuxtla

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Here is some more info for you:

"Que tal como estas? Si, ya me di una idea de lo que les gustaria a tus amigos, sabes si van a pasar por Tuxtla Gutierrez? porque si es asi, definitivamente la mejor opcion es "Las Pichanchas" esta es la pagina http://www.laspichanchas.com.mx/ que puede satisfacer esos antojos de tamales, moles, tacos, etc que mencionaste, ahora, si vienen exclusivamente a Tapachula... lamentablemente por las condiciones socioeconomicas de esta region, que se dedica a la produccion (agricultura y ganaderia) y no asi a los servicios (como los restaurantes y hoteles) no hay muchas opciones para encontrar comida tipica
Tamales: En Tapachula no hay un restaurant que se dedique a venderlos pero sin duda los mejores son los que venden afuera del antiguo cine del pueblo que se llamaba "El Piscis".
Tortas: Me han dicho que una de las mejores torterias esta sobre la Calle Central Sur y esquina con la 3 norte y el luugar se llama Popeye, lo malo de este sitio es que enfrente esta el Velatorio! esa es la razon por la que solo puedo decirte que "me han dicho" que estan muy ricas porque no me gustaria ir jamaz.
Iguana: Me iforman aqui en la oficina que durante los meses de febrero y marzo se puede conseguir iguana alla por Canta la Palma, en Mazatan. Un compañero de trabajo me esta diciendo que el puede conseguir quien les venda iguana, pero necesita saber sin pueden comer picante porque vende "Mole de iguana".
Pollo: En esta region las personas acostumbran comer el pollo en su version "Caldo de gallina de rancho" que es caldo de pollo que siempre comio alimentos naturales, cero quimicos, y lo podran encontrar en la misma carretera a Talisman Km. 10 ahi hay diversos restaurancitos que venden esto.
Me despido por el momento porque se me termino la hora del lunch, pronto te mandamos mas sugerencias.
Saludos."


Looks like you shouldnt bother wasting too much time looking for good restaurants. Stick to enjoying the culture and natural beauty I guess.


(This post was edited by Zorba on Jan 11, 2010, 5:02 PM)
 
 
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