Izapa  Ruin Site, Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico
Izapa Ruin Site
Reach the Izapa Ruin Site from the center of Tapachula via the Talisman road to the Talisman border crossing to Guatemala By colectivo take the Talisman Van. The shared van will drop you at the ruin about 7 miles southeast of Tapachula. The collective van picks up at the bus station used by ADO (OCC) and Tica Bus. The entrance to the ruin is at complex Group F
Izapa is an ancient city with Olmec influence
 The area, noted for its chocolate production
was later influenced by the Mayan, the Toltec
and eventually subjugated by the Aztecs.
Izapa has been little studied except for a Smithsonian expedition by Mathew Sterling in 1941 and by the New World Archaeological Foundation.
It  was at one point in its long history an important Olmec political and religious center built in the Olmec art and architecture style that eventually spread throughout Mesoamerica
The three sites open today for visits are small remnants of a huge sprawling city that developed its own unique style of art after the Olmec and Mayan influence ended.  The art of Izapa includes many standing stones carved in low relief with style and themes that show up in later Mayan art.
Olmec art shows up in other coastal ruin sites of the Soconusco region and is displayed at the Soconusco museum in Tapachula.
Toltec influence comes to Izapa in the ninth century AD
Izapa paid tribute to the Aztec Empire in the 14 th Century AD
Tapachula Museum Artifacts
The Soconusco Museum in Tapachula display artifacts from several Soconusco culture sites. The city of Tapachula, where lodging and night life are available, lies within 8 miles of the Izapa ruin site. The city is served by a major ADO, OCC, and Tica bus terminal. Colectivos headed for the ruin pass by the OCC terminal.
  • Location Of Izapa Ruin Site
Take the Talisman road towards the Guatemala Border. The Talisman bound colectivo makes many runs throughout the day and passes the OCC bus station. Ask the driver to stop at the Izapa ruin site.
A curious stone sculpture at the Izapa Ruin Site shows  magnetic properties.
Izapa ruin site receives few visitors but a new cruise terminal in Puerto Chiapas now brings in tour boats and the passengers can bus to the ruin.
The stone carving at the entrance to the Group F site depicts a frog according to the literature but it is more likely a turtle.    
Some researchers speculate that the stone was used as a compass once it was mounted on a platform and place in water or aboard a boat.  Other researchers claim that stones are often magnetic in this way due to natural inclusion of magnet iron ore in basalt boulders.  
The stone  is magnetically polarized with the exact center of the nose attracting a compass needle, the mid section repelling the needle, and the end section away from the nose, attracting the south end of the compass needle.
Mayan art motifs decorate the 90 stone stela found at Izapa.
The Izapa ruin site is set in deep jungle most now growing chocolate banana, avocado, and mango.
Wild fruit from trees along the dirt road to ruins Group A and  B.
Standing stones are propped up in farmers pastures and in places,  the access road has been cut through small site mounds.
Izapa Ruin Site, is an abandoned stone city that first took shape in 1200 BC when settlers came  into the area from the south, according to some researchers.   The settlement was influenced by the Olmec culture through trade and migration from 900 BC to 100 AD and later by the Maya.  The area is rich in the production of Cacao, the bean of chocolate, which was prized by every culture in Mesoamerica and used as a means of exchange according to archaeologists.   The city reached a high point in population between 600 BC to 100 AD. the period when most of the sculpured stones were created.  
Later cultures including the Toltec and Aztec dominated the site which was the center of a large culture now called Soconusco that settled along the coastal plain and river delta near what is the current border with Guatemala and the present day city of Tapachula, Chiapas.
The colective vans (shared taxis) make runs in front of the OCC bus terminal headed for the border crossing at Talisman.
They run about every 15 minutes and cost about 8 pesos. They start near the market district in the center of the city at a large terminal for colectivos.  
The three Izapa sites are spread about a mile apart, one near the main road,
Group F, and two sites a mile distant at the end of a dirt road, Group A and B.
The complex was once a huge city but is now not much more than 13 plazas encircled by un-excavated mounds except for Group F,  which has been excavated and stabilized.
The three groups have some unique stone carvings and glyphs

Hotels, are plentiful in Tapachula near the lively center. (20-45  USD,  200 - 400 Pesos.  Hotel Plaza Guizar, 200 pesos with AC  and cable, 01-962-62-6-24-88))
archaeological museum near the center houses a great collection of ceramic and stone artifacts from ruin site of Izapa and from the many smaller ruin sites in the area.
Izapa Ruin Site is located near the City of Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico. Izapa Ruin Site shows Olmec influence in its early art and buildings. The area was settled in 1400 BC and reached its peak population between 600 BC to 100 AD.
Izapa  Ruin Site is believed by some to be the area where the Mesoamerican ritual calendar of 260 days was first developed.  
Izapa  Ruin Site Chiapas Mexico is located just southeast of the City of Tapachula.  Izapa is located in three sections on the Talisman Road.
Izapa is an ancient city with Olmec influence and  later influence by the Maya
Chocolate was important to the ancient people and grows abundantly in Coastal Chiapas
Tapachula Museum Chiapas
The Soconusco Archaeological Museum displays artifacts taken from the Izapa ruin Site
A Toltec incursion occurred some time in the 9th century according to some researchers.
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Studies by Geographer Vincent H Malstrom resulted in theories about Izapa and the development of the ritual calendar.  Many art motifs decorate the 90 stone stelae found at Izapa and these motifs continue in Maya art. The site occupies a large area with 33 pyramidal mounds and many stone carvings including 35 altars.   
Art motifs at izapa decorate the 90 stone stelae found at Izapa  These same designs are those found in later Mayan sculpture.
  • Stela 5
Several controversies currently debated add to the interest during an Izapa ruin site visit. The New World Archeology Foundation has conducted extensive studies at Izapa, primarily because a carved stone discovered and designated stelae 5 by Mathew Sterling in a 1940s dig reportedly shows a depiction of the tree of life and the arrival of long distance sea voyagers to the Americas acccording to a NWAF researcher.  
 Some see this stelae as  validation of the Book of Mormon.  The Book of Mormon in part chronicles the arrival of two tribes from Israel that settled in the New World.   Stelae 5 has been called the  "Lehi stone" by some who claim that the stone depicts the dream of bilical Lehi. Other Mormon scholars dispute this.
  • Ritual Calendar Invention
Izapa has been cited by some researchers as the place where the 260-day ritual calendar of Mesoamerica was first developed.  This belief is based on the interval between the two zenith days at Izapa. Most notable in this regard are studies by Geographer Vincent H. Malstrom
Izapa Ruin Site Controversies: Ritual Calendar, Stela Five, and  the Magnetic Turtle
Izapa shipped its signature pottery all over Mesoamerica.  The ceramic is called plumbate because of its shiny surface although it contains no lead. The surface sheen is due to aluminum ore in the clay.
  • The Magnetic Turtle
A stone sculpture of a trurtle head (or Frog) at the Group F ruins of Izapa Ruin Site shows  magnetic properties.
The stone  sculpture is magnetically polarized with the exact center of the nose attracting a compass needle
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