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Travel to San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico: All You Need to Know About It

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Beautiful cobblestone street in san cristobal de las casas

San Cristóbal de las Casas is located in the Chiapas region of Mexico, which is the southern part of Mexico. This is one of the most predominant indigenous regions of Mexico, and it has always been known for the Zapatista movement, which today is a lot calmer. Today we are going to be talking about San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico.

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

San Cristobal is a colonial town with all these really cool pedestrian streets. The most popular one is Rial, Guadalupe, and then they have other streets, I think 15 of March. You can find different squares, centers, and plazas. It’s just a lively town. We absolutely fell in love with San Cristobal, this little city above sea level. It is colorful.

It has delicious restaurants, there are tons of bars, there are tons of places to visit, chocolate places, and cafes.

Is San Cristobal Safe?

We stayed in a really adorable airbnb, literally a couple of blocks from everything. Not only that, but we walked pretty much everywhere.

We felt pretty safe overall. We did walk around sometimes at like nine or 10:00 p.m.

Local woman walking in a street in san cris mexico

Activities in San Cristobal de Las Casas

If you’re going to only be in San Cristobal for, let’s say, several days, there’s so much to do in the actual town itself, walking around. You could even get a bike and do a tour of the city. There’s a lot of really great street art that you could check out in the murals.

Tours and Day Trips

There are quite a few tours to take outside of San Cristobal. Please go and listen to my podcast about a tamales cooking class in San Cristobal. I really recommend that you will absolutely love that experience if you can because you could then really feel the food from that area and learn. It’s just a really fun experience.

We also did a really cool motorcycle tour to take us to Sumidero Canyon which is outside, and there are other different cool experiences that you can do.

There is a day trip to San Juan Chamula, and to El Arcotete, all the other activities, like going to a cooking class and all the other stuff that you could do in half a day and then enjoy the air and then enjoy just hanging out in the town.

street art in san cristobal de las casas mexico

Mercado Viejo

Make sure you go to the Mercado Viejo. I have an entire podcast about the Mercado Viejo, the Old Market, because it is crazy.

I have been to tons of different markets. This is the only one that I actually have seen that has live animals for sale. For me, it was a little bit hard to manage.

Hand made indigenous jewelry in sancris mexico

Related Read: 2 Best Vegan Food Restaurant in San Cristobal de las Casas

San Juan Chamula

Another really important day trip is to San Juan Chamula. You could go there during any day of the week, but the market days are on Sunday. The actual church is what you’re going for. There is a lot of detail about why that church is the unique church in Mexico overall.

san juan chamula in chiapas mexico

Sumidero Canyon

Going to the Sumidro that is a full-day trip. Even if you don’t get a motorcycle, if you go by taxi or by car, it is about 2 hours to get there, 4 hours there and back.

woman at sumidero canyon chipas mexico

Rock Climbing

There’s also excellent rock climbing around San Cristobal de las Casas. To be honest with you, that is the number one reason we came as a family here today. For me, it’s all about where my family can go climbing, and I’m happy to go wherever because I just love to travel. But for them, it’s really important, no matter where they go, to make sure that there is climbing and there is a great climbing area.

There’s a really good group that could take you there. It’s a couple like these people that could take you there to make it really local and great.

a kid and a man rock climbing in san cristobal de las casas

Getting Around

You don’t really need a car there. You could easily get around everywhere. If you want to do some tours outside of it, you could take taxis or have tour companies, or there’s even, like, public colectivos everywhere.

What is the Weather Like in San Cristobal?

There are some things you need to remember for several reasons. One, obviously the altitude, it does get cold. But if you’re dressed warm, it doesn’t matter because during the day the sun is out, and it’s just really crisp and fresh, and then at night, it gets cold.

Make sure you bring your sweater. Even a hat and gloves could help sometimes.

Banks and Money Exchange

One thing that I did have a lot of problems with was exchanging dollars into pesos. Nobody wanted my dollars. There are currency exchange places you got to go and see when they’re open, because from what I discovered, even though they technically have a schedule, they were never really open during the schedule. It’s whenever they pretty much wanted to.

And then sometimes their whole job is to exchange money, and sometimes they don’t even have money to exchange. It was so peculiar. I was able to exchange my money there.

Related Read: How to Money Exchange in Mexico

There are tons of banks

None of the banks wanted my money, but you could use your ATM there. So that’s one thing that we did discover to be a hassle in the beginning. Then, once we went to the currency exchange, obviously you’re not going to get your best rate either way.

food stand in san cristobal mexico

Conclusion

There’s quite a lot to do there and I would recommend at least four to five days. And if you want to do more stuff that’s around there, give yourself about a week in that region. If you guys have been to San Cristobal de las Casas, please let me know what you’ve experienced.

Backstory

I was in San Cristobal 22 years ago, I was traveling through Mexico, and I was a backpacker.

I was meeting all these other backpackers and traveling with them. And when I got to San Cristobal, I was traveling with this one particular woman as well, or girl at that point. We were traveling together, and we were really hanging out. Sometimes you get really great connections with people, and become wonderful friends with them. And I do remember how absolutely cold it was.

San Juan Chamula, make sure you go and listen to the episode about San Juan Chamula and their church and sacrifices. Anyways, so interestingly enough, she went on, and my friend that I was traveling with, who I met while traveling, went on to Tikal, Guatemala. Right after, you could go straight south into Guatemala through the northern part of Guatemala, which is the Mayan ruins.

And she ended up meeting some guy that she ended up, like, moving to Chile with and living with for years after me. I continued traveling throughout Mexico and Belize before I arrived in Tikal. And in Tikal, literally 3 hours after arriving in Guatemala, Tikal, the Mayan ruin park, I ended up meeting my husband. So it was kind of like a magical thing for both of us. So San Cristobal was where we parted ways

But here we are now, 22 years later, and we came with my family. It was me, my husband, and my youngest son. My oldest son decided to stay in Guatemala with his girlfriend. So San Cristobal is this absolutely beautiful colonial town, really high up. It’s about 2400 meters above sea level.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2023

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