Tapachula lies at the center of the Soconusco mountain region, which extends down into southwestern Guatemala. However, if you’re wondering where is Tapachula exactly, you can find this modern city situated right on the Coatán River, in the Pacific coastal plain, 9.5 miles (15 kilometres) from the Guatemalan border.
Significant numbers of European and Asian immigrants were originally attracted to the area by its coffee- and cacao-driven prosperity, and contemporary Tapachula still has this diverse population. Guatemalans come here to shop, do business, and even find work on the plantations.
Back in the day, however, it appears that the area was continually invaded and settled by a number of different cultures, most likely the Central American Indian groups who claimed the land. They were conquered by the Olmecs, who were then attacked by the Toltecs. Tapachula was eventually established by the Aztecs in 1486 as a collection point for the taxes and tributes to be paid to Mexico City.
After the Spanish Conquest, Tapachula became a center for the development of cacao. And in 1774 the city became the capital of the region.
Before the War of Independence, Tapachula protested long and hard about taxation imposed by the Spanish, and during the conflict, it was declared both a town and a parish. Flexing its muscle as the region’s capital, Tapachula declared itself independent from Spain, Guatemala and Mexico (1821-24). Ultimately, in 1888 the region was redeclared as wholly Mexican.
Today, there are a ton of things to do in Tapachula, but it primarily operates as a border city, and has grown rich and prosperous with international trade and the flow of goods between the two countries. It is also the principal city, and the center for an agriculturally rich area that produces internationally acclaimed coffee. All this activity has rendered Tapachula a bustling, cosmopolitan town, where you can even find a decent cappuccino!