La Cueva de Colores
Zoque people on the western plateau called Meseta de las Animas and the Maya on the eastern plateau, known as the Meseta de Ixtapa. The Zoque are one of twelve government-recognized ethnicities in Chiapas. They occupy about 3000 square kilometers of the State. The earliest Zoque archaeological sites date back to 3500 BC, establishing them as a very ancient people. Some archaeologists believe that the Zoque are descendants of the Olmecs. After a period of peaceful trade relations with the Mexica (Aztecs), they were conquered in 1494 by the army of Mexica Emperor Ahuizotl. The Zoque language is related to the Mixe spoken in Oaxaca and Vera Cruz.
Virgin of Guadalupe is revered throughout Mexico as the special patron of the indigenous people and the poor. The sign next to the ladder says (in Spanish) "To the memory of the last of the living explorers, Dr. Miguel Alvarez del Toro. Tireless defender of nature. Creator of the Sumidero Canyon National Park." There are many shrines and holy places in and around the canyon, some of them extremely ancient but still in use. The Zoques believe that the spirits for water and fertility dwell in caves.
Crocodiles of the Rio Grijalva
American Crocodile species (Crocodylus acutus). On the upside for tourists, this species is not nearly as aggressive as the Australian saltwater croc or the African Nile croc. Still, the American croc can be dangerous. A few fatal attacks by this species have been reported, mostly in Florida, but also in Mexico near Puerto Vallarta and in Costa Rica. However, it appears that the real danger is more to the crocodiles from humans rather than the other way around. The river crocodiles are presently under government protection from hunting or capture. Unfortunately, in Mexico these kinds of laws are sometimes weakly enforced.
La Presa Chicoasén and the Eco-Park.
This completes our tour of Cañon del Sumidero and Part 14b of my Chiapas series. I always welcome feedback, questions, and corrections. If you would like to do so, please use the Comments section below or email me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim