The Parque Nacional Lagos de Montebello lies 50km southeast of Comitán, along the border with Guatemala. The park encompasses beautiful wooded country in which there are more than fifty lakes, sixteen of them very large, and many of them with small restaurants providing local food and basic cabañas. The combination of forest and water is reminiscent of Scotland or Maine, with miles of hiking potential; for the less energetic, roadside viewpoints provide glimpses of many lakes, lent different tints by natural mineral deposits and the angle of the sun. The lakes themselves are actually a series of cenotes (sinkholes) formed by the erosion of limestone over millions of years. You could see quite a bit of the park in a long day trip – buses cover the route all day from 3am, with the last bus leaving the park entrance around 7.30pm – but to really enjoy it, and to visit the small but spectacular ruins of Chinkultic, you’re better off staying in or near the park.
The main route through the park is the Carretera Fronteriza, the Frontier Highway (Hwy-307). It splits from the Panamerican Highway 16km outside Comitán, at the village of La Trinitaria. From there, the park entrance is a further 36km. Past the park, the road roughly follows the line of the Guatemalan border and is paved all the way to Palenque. In the recent past, there were frequent army checkpoints along this road – you may still be asked for your passport at any time. The soldiers are invariably polite, but make sure your tourist card is valid.