After exploring Mexico City, I wanted to stay in a small town for a while in Mexico. So I chose San Cristobal de Las Casas in the South of Mexico. I took an overnight bus from Mexico City to travel to San Cristobal de Las Casas in the state of Chiapas. After an almost 24 hrs journey, I reached San Cristobal de Las Casas. In this post, I am going to give you guys a quick guide to the town of San Cristobal de Las Casas.
SAN CRISTOBAL de LAS CASAS
San Cristobal is a town that sits in a small valley surrounded by hills. Since I loved exploring towns in Colombia, I wanted to explore the towns of Mexico and the state of Chiapas is perfect for it. There are many towns in Chiapas and San Cristobal de las casas is one of them. San Cristobal has cold weather year-round. It is a popular tourist place with hippie vibes. It is a beautiful town with cobblestones lanes. The kind of town where you want to lose yourself by walk. San Cristobal has churches, museums, good food joints, markets, nearby indigenous towns, parks, caves, canyon!
MARKETS OF SAN CRISTOBAL de LAS CASAS
Markets in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Mexico, in general, reminds me of Indian markets in terms of their cost-effectiveness and things you can find in them. The aroma of spices, sweets, fresh fruits, vegetables will fill your nostrils. There’s a night market at Plaza de La Paz where you can find warm clothes at really good prices.
MUSUEMS OF SAN CRISTOBAL de LAS CASAS
There are several museums in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The one that you should not miss is the Na Bolom museum. It is a great place to start learning about Mayan history and culture. The second which I really like is the Museum of Amber. Amber is basically fossilized tree resin. The museum has so many diverse beautiful artefacts made of amber. Other museums in San Cristobal de Las Casas are Museo de la Medicina Maya, Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya, Museo Mesoamricano del Jade, Museo de San Cristobal etc.
CHURCHES OF SAN CRISTOBAL de LAS CASAS
Like several museums, there are several churches in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The famous ones are the Church of Santo Domingo, Cathedral of San Cristobal, Church of Guadalupe, Church of San Francisco, Santa Lucia Church, Church of San Cristobalito etc.
PARKS & CAVES OF SAN CRISTOBAL de LAS CASAS
This is my favourite part about San Cristobal de Las Casas. There are several parks and caves in/around San Cristobal to explore. The first one I explored was Encuentro National park. A nice place to explore by bicycle. Around 5 km from the park lies the Mamut caves which I had not explored though. There are other major caves in/around San Cristobal. The first one I explored was the El Arcotete Park caves which are not so far from the town centre. It has some really interesting caves in the middle of nature. The bigger cave is at the Rancho Nuevo. You can walk inside the cave for good 15-20 minutes till the end. In the end, you can even explore deeper with a guide and the necessary gear. It is a 20-25 mins drive from the town centre. It is also the biggest park in/around San Cristobal de Las Casas and shouldn’t be missed. Another park which I really liked exploring was Reserva Huitepec which is a 10-15 minutes drive from the town centre. The interesting part about the trail in the park is you get to learn about nature through the informative planks.
A DAY TRIP TO SUMIDERO CANYON
I took public transport(Colectivo) to reach Chiapa de Corzo town from San Cristobal de Las Casas. It was an hour-long ride. From Chiapa de Corzo, I took a boat tour navigating through Sumidero Canyon which lasts for a couple of hours. I enjoyed it while witnessing several waterfalls, birds, caves, mountains, crocodiles! The canyon has vertical walls as high as around 1000 metres and it is surrounded by Sumidero Canyon National Park. I totally recommend taking this tour. After the boat tour, do explore the beautiful town of Chiapa de Corzo and try the local drink of Pozol.
INDIGENOUS TOWNS: CHAMULA & ZINACANTAN
A 20-25 minutes drive from San Cristobal de Las Casas will take you to the indigenous town of Zinacantan. Almost all the people in the town are Tzotzil Maya people, an indigenous group. They speak the Tzotzil language. Around 8 km from Zinacantan lies the town of Chamula. Chamula too is populated by Tzotzil Maya people. Both these towns are known for their textile arts and Poshe. Poshe is a local alcoholic beverage. It is made of corn, sugar cane and wheat. Do take permission from local people before clicking their pictures.
SAN CRISTOBAL LOGISTICS: THINGS TO KNOW
Here’s the guide to transportation, food, accommodation, activities and other expenses in San Cristobal de Las Casas.
MODES OF TRANSPORTATION
The keyword here is Colectivos! These are sharing vans commonly used by locals. Cheapest and the best way to get around. I used them to visit almost all the above places. You can get these collectives near Plaza de La Paz. It starts as low as 8 pesos and as high as 60 pesos(this one is for Chiapa de Corzo from San Cristobal). San Cristobal is a great place to explore by walk. I took many walking expeditions during my stay. I used to walk for hours in the town while listening to my music playlist.
San Cristobal de Las Casas is a good and cheap place to stay for the short and long term. If you are looking for a short stay, you can easily find hostels starting from 120-130 pesos per night and if you are looking to stay for several weeks/months. I would recommend you to look for a room with a bathroom and kitchen in the Facebook marketplace. I found a place with 600 pesos rent for a week.
San Cristobal has several markets to find cheap food and several high-end restaurants. On a day when I don’t feel like cooking, my go-to place was Chedraui supermarket wherein a buffet you get to chose quantity as per your needs. In 60-70 pesos I used to have a good meal. My favourite restaurant has to be “Carmelita” near Amber Museum. Pocket-friendly, good service and delicious food! All the different foods, street foods, drinks can be seen above!
- Entry fee to Encuentro National park is 10 pesos
- Entry fee to Rancho Nuevo is 10 pesos and additional 35 pesos to enter the cave. There is an extra cost to explore the cave even deeper with a guide.
- Entry fee to El Arcotete Park is 10 pesos and additional 15 pesos to enter the cave.
- Entry fee to Reserva Huitepec is 10 pesos.
- Entry fee to Amber Museum is 30 pesos.
- Entry fee to Na Bolom Museum is 60 pesos.
- Boat tour in Sumidero Canyon is 250 pesos.
- There is no fee to enter churches except the one in the town of Chamula. It costs 25 pesos.