The pine and oak highlands of central Chiapas rise 8,000 feet above the Grijalva River to the northwest and extend for nearly 220 kilometers southeast into neighboring Guatemala.
For at least a thousand years the Tzotzil and Tzeltal-speaking Maya have
lived in the valleys of this plateau, near the many limestone springs that
are fed by underground rivers. The economy of the highlands is based on the
growing of corn, beans, and squash, utilizing the age-old methods of
slash-and-burn agriculture. Most communities also specialize in a
particular craft or cash crop which they sell at the market in the colonial
city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas (pop.90,000).
(top right) Limestone spring in the Chiapas Highlands.
(bottom left) Maya home in the Chiapas Highlands.
(bottom right) Milpa hillside in the Chiapas Highlands.