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"San Cristóbal de Las Casas" Best Things to Do and See



The City of San Cristóbal de Las Casas:

The Colonial City of San Cristóbal is located in a beautiful highland valley. San Cristóbal has been a popular destination for travelers for decades. We certainly understand why, as this is one of our favorite destinations in Mexico. It is a pleasure to explore the historic streets and markets of San Cristóbal and soak up the unique atmosphere. This is Mexico in its purest form, Maya peoples walk everywhere in traditional clothing. In addition, there are plenty of restaurants and nice bars. And everything is also much cheaper than at the Mexican coastal towns.




San Cristóbal is located at an altitude of 2200 meters, so sun is guaranteed as most of the clouds are lower in the surrounding valleys. However, it cools down considerably in the evening so take a few sets of warm clothes with you for when the sun has set. In addition to exploring the village, there are plenty of fun things to do, below is a list of our favorite activities:


Explore the historic center:

The best way to explore San Cristóbal de las Casas is to stroll through the countless atmospheric streets and squares. From atmospheric houses to cozy bars, to Maya families who sell their homemade souvenirs on the street, you will be amazed. The nicest streets are Calle Real de Guadalupe and Andador 20 de Noviembre. But all the surrounding streets are also an experience in themselves.






Visit the Maya Village of San Juan de Chamula:

San Juan de Chamula is without a doubt a very special place to visit. San Juan de Chamula is about a fifteen minute drive from San Cristóbal de las Casas and is inhabited by the Tzotzil Maya. It is one of the few Mayan villages in Mexico that has managed to preserve their culture so strongly. The village has its own laws, army and police force. The Mexican authorities simply have nothing to say.



The Tzotzil Maya have a unique religious system. You can see that everywhere in the village, but especially at the church Iglesia de San Juan Chamula. The white church is beautiful from the outside, but inside is where the real magic takes place. Various special rituals are performed here almost daily. Thousands of candles are burning and the ground is littered with pine needles. Live chickens are sacrificed and evil spirits are chased away. This is an experience you will remember for a lifetime. Entrance costs 30 Pesos per person, and please note: taking photos and videos is strictly prohibited!




Besides this church there was another place that we thought was definitely worth a visit, and that was the cemetery. There is a huge old church ruin surrounded by hundreds of graves, from small crosses to houses on the grave. This place also has a magical atmosphere.





San Juan de Chamula is easy to reach by Collectievo, which costs only 20 Pesos per person. The station is easy to find in San Cristóbal. Go to the intersection of Avenida 16 de Septiembre and Calle Honduras. After that, the station is located about 100 meters west on Calle Honduras.


Sumidero Canyon:

The Sumidero Canyon or in Spanish Cañón del Sumidero is a 1000 meter deep gorge through which the Grijalva River flows. Here monkeys swing through the trees, tropical birds fly around your ears and crocodiles are baking in the sun. The best way to view the canyon is with a 2-hour boat tour, you also have some beautiful viewpoints to look down from above in the 1000 meter deep canyon. This is one of the nicer Canyons we have seen!





We visited this location with a day tour from San Cristóbal de las Casas. The tour consisted of visiting 2 viewpoints above the Canyon, then we did a 2-hour boat trip through the Canyon. And finally we ended the day with a visit to the beautiful village of Chiapa de Corso. We paid 450 pesos per person for this tour including all transportation.




Visit Chiapa de Corso:

The authentic Chiapa de Corzo is a small town that is very popular among Mexican holidaymakers. Chiapa de Corzo is located one hour west of San Cristóbal de las Casas. Here the boats leave for the famous Sumidero Canyon that many travelers want to visit. This town makes a very nice stopover during a visit to the Canyon, or a day visit on its own. There is a large square with historic buildings surrounded by streets with nice shops and bars. Some churches and atmospheric streets are also definitely worth exploring.




We visited this location with a day tour from San Cristóbal de las Casas. The tour consisted of visiting 2 viewpoints above the Canyon, then we did a 2-hour boat trip through the Canyon. And finally we ended the day with a visit to the beautiful village of Chiapa de Corso. We paid 450 pesos per person for this tour including all transportation.




Shop at the Artisanal Market:

The Artisan Market is a market with handmade bags, clothing, jewelry and accessories. The nice thing about this market is that they are all stalls of the Mayas from communities that live around San Cristóbal de las Casas. The quality is also unmistakable, and the prices are very competitive compared to most lower-lying towns and villages. From jewelry to handmade ponchos, and nice and warm self-knitted clothing for the cool evenings here.





Buy fresh food at Mercado Jose Castillo Tielemans:

The Mercado Jose Castillo Tielemans is a large market where you will find a lot of vegetables, fruit, spices, meat and fish. This is a real local market where there is something to see, smell and taste everywhere. Although it is frequented by tourists, it is not set up for that. So you can still feel the typical Mexican atmosphere here. In the middle of the market there are also some cheap but very tasteful restaurants.


Viewpoint at Inglesia de San Cristobal:

There are several churches in San Cristóbal on top of a hill overlooking the city. Both the Inglesia de San Cristobal and the Inglesia de Guadalupe offer such urban views. We chose the first option and the view was beautiful. Whichever church you choose, a beautiful view of this beautiful city is guaranteed.




Next destination Palenque?

If Palenque is your next destination, it might be wise to visit the Aqua Azul waterfalls with a tour company by minivan, and then there is the option to travel further to Palenque by minivan. In this way you can choose the short way of 210km by minivan instead of the 460km route that the large buses follow.


We have just done the journey by large bus, but this one drives completely around for safety, but this means a journey of 10 hours. This is considerably shorter per minivan and therefore easy to combine with the above waterfalls.












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