Sitting in a stunning highland valley, the colonial mountain town of San Cristobal is the ideal base from which to explore the wonderfully picturesque area of Chiapas. The town is bright with colourful buildings and dotted with indigenous neighbourhoods.
The beautiful colonial mountain town of San Cristóbal de las Casas is a characteristically indigenous Chiapaneca town, nestled in the heart of the jungle highlands. The town was founded in 1528 by Spanish Conquistadors led by Diego de Mazariegos after a four year battle to pacify a hostile indigenous population. A town rich in Indian culture, it is a blend of elegant buildings, colonial churches and brightly dressed locals making it an interesting place to visit.
Practising their own unique customs, the people of San Cristobal live a traditional lifestyle; they wear typical indigenous dress, carry out particular crafts and use cooking methods that their ancestors will have invented. Very much relying on agriculture as their main source of income, they often head into the centre of town to sell their handmade crafts – be sure to look out for different weaving styles which reflect a particular village on the outskirts of San Cristobal. Visitors can take day trips to the surrounding villages including San Juan Chamula, where they can catch a glimpse of how the people of Chiapas live. Give yourself plenty of time to wander the cobbled streets and colourful markets, as this is the true essence of San Cristobal. Along the main plaza you can find the stunning city hall and cathedral which are architecturally unique and really quite special; we recommend climbing to the top to enjoy incredible views of the town and surrounding countryside.
Although home to indigenous populations and traditional communities, the town of San Cristobal itself has become an international tourist destination and hosts a range of language schools, art-house cinemas and educational museums. There are plenty of quaint shops and patio cafes that line the streets, ideal for a bite to eat, a refreshing drink and perusing passers-by – its laid-back atmosphere is sure to be relaxing.
One of the most spectacular natural reserves in Mexico is the Sumidero Canyon, a geological fault formed 36 million years ago with walls of calcareous rock elevating to more than 1,000m in places. Caves, waterfalls and unique geological formations make this a fantastic day excursion from San Cristóbal de las Casas.
When to go: Chiapas climate is fairly temperate and remains warm all year round. During the summer months the evenings can be pleasantly cool but the winter months will require a blanket or two. The rainy season occurs June-October, making it an ideal destination for those looking for some winter sun.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8942