Las Nubes (The Clouds) is an ecotourism center with recreation area which affords you access to views of one of the most beautiful rivers with cascades and rapids that you might ever see. Not that the Causas Verdes Las Nubes recreation area is the only spot from which to see the river in general, but for any views of the river, I’d recommend starting here. In a separate article, I’ll discuss an additional access point and recreation area, Río Celeste Maya.
To get to Las Nubes, follow the signs from Comitán de Dominguez. If you’re driving yourself, be sure that you have enough gas to make your way there. That being said, you’ll notice that in place of the ubiquitos PEMEX gas stations, there are locals from the pueblos and ejidos (communal lands) along the way selling giant jugs of gasoline by the side of the road if you’re really pushing it and running low.
As you get closer to the recreation area, you’ll keep noticing signs for Las Nubes but they will become cruder as you proceed. Continue to follow them, they are still accurate. You will finally reach the Las Nubes recreation area after passing through one final ejido, Gallo Giro.
Camping is a “just-pick-a-spot” affair. The central lawn area between the cabañas and the jungle is all yours. There are also camping spots along the river, although the cascades are extremely loud. Don’t get me wrong, the jungle at night is loud too, but not quite as loud.
To camp, I spent $50 MXN, which did not include access to a bathroom or shower facility. That didn’t matter the night I arrived because there didn’t appear to be a bathroom attendant later in the evenings in general. Thus, use of the bathroom and shower appear to become “free” after a certain hour and hence I didn’t quite feel the burn of having to repeatedly pay the same person to use the facilities over an extended period of time (at first, anyway). During the day, you will spend $3 MXN per entry to the bathroom/shower area. While there are a couple of stalls and the attendant will give you TP, there is only one shower per restroom.
There are “No Fires” signs posted everywhere. That being said, there’s a particular thing about the enforcement of rules and regulations in Mexico. And accordingly, while I camped that night, my neighbors lit up a fire on a concrete platform on the lawn. They cooked and spent time by that fire that night. And they invited me to do the same. And so I did. I cooked using this fire when my Coleman propane single-burner camping stove simply decided to stop working altogether. Cooking using your own fuel is fine, they just supposedly don’t like fires on the property. However, nobody shut us down that night.
For an additional $50 MXN, you can rent a palapa, complete with a built-in table and grill. The only running water for rinsing and cleaning dishes, as far as I could tell, is that from the bathroom sinks. I used them for getting water in order to soak and scrub my dishes (which I did elsewhere), and then used the sinks for rinsing them off.
What to see
The part of the river right where the facilities stand is beautiful in its own right, but you’ll want to do some light hiking to a couple of other points of interest for other excellent views of this amazing río and surrounding landscape, specifically to el túnel (the tunnel), el mirador (the viewpoint), and finally el puente (the bridge). All three are in the same general direction away from the facilities area and further into the jungle, down the dirt road leading away from where you entered Las Nubes recreation area to begin with.
From the end of that dirt road, turn left at the signpost to get to the riverbank from where you can enjoy more views of river rapids, cascades, and a massive rock wall through which the river carved a tunnel (el túnel) over time. Then retreat from the river’s edge and backtrack slightly for a trail that heads off to your right and enables you to climb up to el mirador, affording views of not only the river below but of various natural pools and surrounding hillsides and mountains. It’s gorgeous.
Once you’ve descended from el mirador, backtrack to the first signpost and then turn left. Quickly, you’ll come to the bridge and, while you can utilize the pedestrian cable bridge to cross to the other side of the river for a different perspective, you’ll want to first remain on the facilities side and climb down the boulders there to the cascades in the opposite direction of the bridge in order to take it all in.
Be aware that Las Nubes gets rather busy on weekends and holidays. While always still worth the trip, plan yours for a weekday or non-holiday if you don’t like crowds.