The artsy colonial town of Comitan de Dominguez in southern Chiapas is an often overlooked and off-the-beaten-path destination offering a fascinating glimpse into the rich indigenous traditions and culture of the region.
Comitan centers on the main plaza where you’ll find the Iglesia de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Church), built during the 16th and 17th centuries. The town is named after local doctor Belisario Dominguez. His former home, now the Casa Museo Dr. Belisario Dominguez (Dominguez House and Museum), is located just south of the main plaza. Nearby you’ll also find a modern art museum and archaeology museum.
The traditional drink of Comitan is called comiteco. It’s a type of pulque prepared with maguey (agave plant) and piloncillo (cooked sugarcane). Other traditional local beverages include tascalate (ground toasted corn, chocolate, sugar, cinnamon and achiote), pozol (corn and chocolate sweetened with sugar) and agua de tzilacayote (white pumpkin flavored water sweetened with sugar).
Comitan’s local dishes include butifarra (sausage prepared with seasoned pork) and several varieties of tamales (corn based dough with sweet or savory fillings) including tamales pitual made with corn, beans and cilantro, tamales patzitos made with a sweet cream filling and tamales de chiplin made with chiplin leaves. Adventurous eaters can sample tzisim (fried winged ants) spiked with lime juice.
Comitan serves as the jumping off point for exploring more of southern Chiapas, including excursions to the Mayan ruins at Chinkultic and Tenam Puente. The Chinkultic archaeological site remains partially unexcavated; its most impressive structure is the hilltop acropolis. Climb to the top for spectacular views of the Montebello lakes and forest below. The slightly less dramatic Tenam Puente, built over a series of hills has three ball courts and a tiered pyramid. It also offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.