A few weeks ago, I announced that Oaxaca could lose the title “my favorite city in Mexico”. It me now is difficult, however, to decide. Therefore I say: Draw between Oaxaca and San Cristobal de las Casas.
More than seven weeks I was already traveling in Mexico, and it was getting better. After Yucatán I had a good time in the capital, then I moved into my hitherto favorite city of Oaxaca and from there to the hippie-beach of Zipolite. Eventually I reached San Cristóbal de las Casas.
I knew the city did not, even though I had years earlier been to Mexico. So I can be so ignorant. That comes from the fact that I never feel in front of a desire to travel, to prepare myself for it.
Nevertheless, it has managed San Cristóbal on my agenda. Not least because it is so close to Guatemala and Conni Planet Backpack told only good.
Just before I therefore went to Guatemala, my heart was again difficult. I had really grown fond of Mexico and now I came to San Cristóbal. The town is the tourist center of the state of Chiapas, which lies in the far south of Mexico. The place is located 2,100 meters above sea level and has pleasant 160,000.
San Cristóbal reminded me in every way to Oaxaca. The same cosiness, beautiful houses and streets, many churches, good food and pleasant temperatures. Almost too comfortable, because in the evening it is properly cold.
The choice of modern cafes is at least twice as large as in Oaxaca. So you can try out for days new coffee shops. Worth mentioning are Cocoliche, Natura Organico, Al Grano, Kinoki and Carajillo.
Other attractions within the city limits are restricted to the churches, of which I want to mention just two. They are very average, but both are very nice location.
To the west of the center, the Iglesia de San Cristóbal is located on a green hill. There I felt like in the country, and not in the middle of a city. The view of San Cristóbal is wonderful.
To the east of the city center the same game: The Church Guadelupe is not quite as dominant, but it offers a different perspective. These two churches are two wonderful vantage points, especially in the early morning and early evening.
Excursions around San Cristobal
The city is not necessarily appropriate when you want to execute attractions on your list. For me it’s a feel-good city. If you want to see more, you can easily look around a bit in the surrounding countryside.
San Juan Chamula
My first tip is a church. Yes, seriously, yet another church. This is really special. I had seen until then nothing like it.
Tourists pay 20 pesos admission and unfortunately Photos strictly prohibited, so I can offer you nothing, except for a link to Google Images (obviously not everyone accepts this ban as seriously as I did).
From the outside, the church does not look out, but inside there is a very special atmosphere: burn Hundreds of candles, people sitting on the floor and pray earnestly (benches are not there), all are pine needles around. Families hold here partly a kind of picnic. Only the Coca Cola bottles disturb the atmosphere a little. But that is also somehow typical Mexican.
Getting there: You can book a tour, but that’s not necessary. In San Cristóbal there on Calle Honduras a kind of collectivo-Terminal (near the Mercados). From there collectivos go to the surrounding villages. Every 10 minutes there after a Chamula. The journey takes about 30 minutes and costs only 12 pesos.
Cañon de Sumidero
In San Cristóbal there is a standard tour. Of course there are a few more, but mainly you will always be a trip to the Cañon de Sumidero offered.
It is a boat trip through the canyon whose cliffs are up to 1,000 meters high. With a little luck you can see crocodiles. We were lucky!
In the rainy season, however, the waste from the surrounding villages is flushed into the canyon, which is not exactly a looker.
The tour lasts with arrival and departure about 6 hours (incl. One hour stop in a village) and costs 280 pesos. My Opinion: Can you make, but you do not.
My accommodation in San Cristóbal
With my hostel I was lucky. Prior to my arrival I had already booked accommodation. When I got there, but the room was still occupied, as the host was seriously ill. There you have recommended me a hostel, I eventually found a lot better: Puerta Vieja. This cozy single room there was for 300 pesos (about 17 euros) including delicious breakfast. The operators and guests were very pleasant and mostly to my taste.
Every night there is a bonfire in the garden, around which all can gather. That seems in San Cristóbal, however, not be so unusual.