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San Cristobal de las Casas

Photo credit: tatogra / Foter / CC BY-SA
San Cristobal de las Casas
  • (worth a trip)
  • 10+ km
  • Easy
  • Average
  • 2-3 days
  • 3 3

A lush colonial town and the cultural center of Chiapas

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

One of Chiapa’s most visited cities and a favorite for Mexicans and foreigners alike, this quaint, colonial city is surrounded pine forests and set in a highland valley. The city is made up of colorful houses, markets, narrow cobblestone pathways and traditional barrios that will make you feel as though you’ve been transferred back to time as soon as you step foot in it. The city contains a myriad of sidewalk cafes, shops, markets and more, all of which add up to the city’s bohemian style.


San Cristobal de las Casas is surrounded by smaller villages where indigenous groups, who even speak their own language, live and usually travel daily into the city to sell their crafts and food at markets. Aside from that, each barrio in the city is known for a particular trade, amongst them are included carpentry, woodcarving, iron working and more – making each of them unique and worth a visit.


The city is small and can be easily wandered through by foot. Among the must-see places are the city hall, the main Cathedral, the Convento Santo Domingo, Templo de San Cristobal (located on top of a hill and hence, the best lookout point of the city and its surroundings) and more.


Among the myriad of museums found here, the most-visited are the Museo y Chocolatería Cultural “Kakaw”, dedicated to chocolate and cacao, Museo de Trajes Regionales, which features traditional clothes form the area and country, and Museo de Textiles Chiapas Étnico, dedicated to the textiles from the region.


Aside from its lush beauty, San Cristobal is also famous for being the cultural center of Chiapas, with numerous cinemas, museums, artisan markets, and more. Due to its popularity among foreigners, travel agencies can be found everywhere, making it easy for you to find things to do (as if there weren’t enough already!). For the same reason, many language schools offer Spanish courses for those wishing to stay long-term and many organizations offer volunteering programs.


Since 2001, San Cristobal de las Casas has been the home to Cervantino-Barroco Festival, celebrated each year on the last week of October and sometimes the first week of November and featuring lush baroque art, concerts, recitals and art expositions and conferences.


El Carmen, a cultural center set in a small auditorium, offers numerous workshops and expositons, a theatre and small forums showcasing art.


The city is often used as a starting point to visiting all the other sites in Chiapas due to its central location and its cheap accommodation options. Cañon del Sumidero is located less than an hour away, Lagunas de Montebello are located just about two as well as el Chiflon Waterfalls as well as many other natural parks and Mayan ruins.


How to get there

The closes airport is Aeropuerto Internacional Ángel Albino Corzo (TGZ), located about 50 minutes away. From there, you can take a taxi or head to ADO terminal where first class buses leave to San Cristobal de las Casas every hour for the price of approximately $50.