Although the Near Threatened jaguar Panthera onca ranges from the south-west USA to central Argentina, populations outside Amazonia are generally small and isolated. One such area, the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, is potentially an important area for jaguar conservation but information on the species in this region is limited and its conservation status is unknown. In this study we documented the occurrence and abundance of jaguars in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas complex. We compiled all available records of the species within the region and conducted a camera-trap survey during August 2015–December 2016. Interviews were conducted to determine the perception of the jaguar by cattle owners and to obtain information on any livestock predation. We found that jaguars still occur throughout the Sierra Madre de Chiapas landscape, including the plains on the Pacific Coast of Chiapas, but its abundance in the region is low. On the basis of our findings we have incorporated the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in Mexico's National Jaguar Conservation Strategy, and recommend that international organizations include this area in their priorities for jaguar conservation. To improve coexistence between jaguars and the communities of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, strategies need to be developed, in collaboration with the local communities, to improve livestock practices for reduction of predation by jaguars, to strengthen government conservation policies and to implement educational and communication programmes about the importance of this species in the region.