San Cristobal de Las Casas is a gorgeous settlement nestled in the mountains of Chiapas. It is the raison d’etre that most people even venture to Chiapas state in the first place and it should rank high on your Mexico bucket list.
You could easily dedicate a week to exploring San Cristobal de Las Casas and feel as though you have barely scratched beneath the surface of things to do here. Better yet, the town makes a perfect base for a wider exploration of Chiapas.
25 Incredible Things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas
Participate in the “Free” Walking Tour
A “free” daily walking tour operates in San Cristobal de Las Casas with the intention to help travelers scratch beyond the surface of what the city has to offer. It is a nice idea to participate in the tour early on in your trip.
That way, it helps you to get your bearings in a new city. Best of all, exploring with a Chiapas local means that you have a San Cristobal de Las Casas “expert” on hand to ask for recommendations on the best places to eat, drink and hang out in San Cristobal de Las Casas.
The tours depart from the wooden cross in front of the cathedral in the Plaza de la Paz. A Spanish tour takes place daily at 10 am.
Meanwhile, an English language tour takes place daily at 10 am and 5 pm. It is important to note that while this is a “free” walking tour, it is important to tip your guide.
The recommended fare is 100 pesos per person. However, you may wish to pay more if you enjoyed your experience.
Tour a Coffee Plantation
Few people are aware of the fact that Chiapas is actually one of the best and largest organic coffee producers in the world. The plantations here often produce a chocolatey coffee, with a medium body and bright acidity.
44% of the coffee produced in Mexico is produced in Chiapas. While you can sample and purchase Chiapas coffee in coffee shops and artisanal stores here, you can also opt to tour a plantation.
Surprisingly, coffee plantation tours in this region are not as common as excursions to Sumidero canyon, Chiapas’ indigenous villages, etc. You have to dig around to find them.
One option is to tour the Yaxchilan coffee plantations close to Ocosingo or on the outskirts of San Cristobal de Las Casas. Plantation owner Esteban Lopez Gomez offers tailored tours to the plantations nearby.
For 2200 pesos, you can enjoy a day’s tour of the Ocosingo plantations. The tour includes brief stops at San Juan Cancuc, a cemetery in Romerillo, and Tenejapa.
This price includes a driver, guide and lunch. You will tour the plantations, learn about the production process, sample a range of local blends and enjoy local foods.
You can email Esteban at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is one of the best things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas for coffee connoisseurs.
Take a Day Trip to Zinacantán
A visit to the nearby indigenous village of Zinacantán is a highlight of any trip to San Cristobal de Las Casas. The town is named after the Nahuatl word Tzinacantlān meaning “land of bats”.
This is on account of a nearby cave that is home to hundreds of these winged furries. Zinacantán is situated within an autonomous part of Chiapas and most of its 45,373 inhabitants are indigenous Tzotzil people.
There are several gorgeous, unusual churches here that blend Catholicism with pre-hispanic ancient rituals. The most notable of which is the grand Iglesia de San Lorenzo.
Zinacantán is also famous for its textiles. No trip here is complete without a visit to the Zinacantán indigenous women’s textile cooperative.
The women here produce beautifully-embroidered garments, handbags, and home interiors, most of which are produced on a backstrap loom. Proceeds from purchases made here go towards helping fund the education of the younger generations of village residents.
Recommended Zinacantán Tours
- San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán tour from San Cristobal de las Casas
- Indigenous villages tour from San Cristobal de las Casas
Visit the Mysterious “Coca Cola” Tour in Chamula
The San Juan Chamula church is a spiritual place unlike anything else you will find anywhere in the world. Chamula is a small settlement just 11km (25 minutes) away from San Cristobal de Las Casas.
The town, in general, is not much to write home about. However, the San Juan Chamula church is one of the most fascinating places in all of Mexico.
From the outside, this structure looks little more than a regular Catholic church. It boasts a crisp white facade with green details and colorful, intricate azulejos.
There is nothing from the exterior that would give away the mysteries that await within.. For the locals, this church is almost something of a hospital.
Many Chamula residents either do not believe in modern medicine or cannot afford it. So, they look to religion instead.
Sick people visit San Juan Chamula to pray to a favorite saint and request to be healed from what ails them. They light candles and sometimes, they sacrifice a chicken in exchange for their well-being.
You will see a lot of people within the church drinking Coca-Cola and other fizzy drinks as they pray. Many believe that if they burp, it expels evil from their bodies.
So, they sit downing fizzy drinks and forcing out burps in a quest for a cure. Chamula is a popular day trip from San Cristobal de Las Casas.
Recommended Chamula Tours
Many local tour companies run excursions to Chamula and Zinacantan. A few reputable options are detailed below.
- San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán tour from San Cristobal de las Casas
- Indigenous villages tour from San Cristobal de las Casas
Take a Tour of the Sumidero Canyon
Sumidero Canyon is a deep natural canyon just north of Tuxtla Gutierrez and the little pueblo magico of Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas. It was formed approximately 35 million years ago.
Today, it is a place of breathtaking natural beauty. Opting to take a tour here provides the opportunity not only to experience sailing through the canyon but to get up close and personal with many of the animal species that call it home.
Crocodiles, spider monkeys, iguanas, and raccoons call the canyon home. The area is also famous for its diverse variety of colorful butterflies.
Sumidero Canyon has vertical walls which reach as high as 1,000 meters (3,300 ft). There are several lookout points from which you can enjoy fabulous panoramas over the canyon and the surrounding area.
Most tours to the region pick you up from your hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas and take you on a scenic 2-hour boat ride along the Río Grijalva. At the end of the boat ride, you will enjoy a short hike to one of the viewpoints (miradores).
There are a few notable sights here to look out for and no doubt your Tour Guide will make brief stops so that you can enjoy them and take photos. There is an impressive waterfall here known as the Christmas tree, although it is most impressive during the rainy season.
Similarly, keep your eyes open for the Cave of Colors. This is a natural chapel with pink tones on the walls due to the various minerals present in the rocks. A Virgin of Guadalupe has been placed within.
Recommended Sumidero Canyon Tours
Most Sumidero canyon tours start and end in San Cristobal de las Casas. However, there are also a few smaller companies that organize tours from Chiapa de Corzo and Tuxtla Gutierrez.
A selection of reputable tour options is detailed below for your consideration.
- Sumidero Canyon full day trip from San Cristobal de las Casas
- Sumidero Canyon and San Cristobal de las Casas day trip from Tuxtla Gutierrez
- Tour of Sumidero Canyon, Chiapa de Corzo and San Cristobal de las Casas
- Sumidero Canyon and Chiapa de Corzo day trip from San Cristobal de las Casas
Ascend the Steps to the Guadalupe Church
The Iglesia del Cerro de Guadalupe is a charming 19th-century hilltop church perched on top of a hill. If you ascend the 79 steps up the hill to the church at the top, you will be rewarded with spectacular panoramas over San Cristobal de las Casas.
The view is particularly special if you stop by at golden hour or just before sunset. As per Mexican traditions, hundreds of colorful papel picado (paper banners) flutter in the wind around the church.
The church is free to enter and contains some beautiful paintings, most notably, a centuries-old canvas depiction of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In the side chapel, you will note an ornately carved image of the Virgin dating from 1850.
Admire the Viewpoint from Iglesia de San Cristobalito
Some parts of San Cristobal de Las Casas are so hilly that they would give San Francisco a run for its money! A second very worthy hilltop church to hike up to is the Iglesia de San Cristobalito.
However, reaching the church is no mean feat. There are several hundred steep steps to ascend to reach the little red and white church at the top.
For your efforts, you are rewarded with incredible views over the city. The church is free to enter and there is a seating area directly out front where you will often find local families having a picnic.
Behind the church is a little ice cream van selling all manner of creamy homemade ice creams and paletas – frozen treats made from fresh fruit. Instead of descending from the church the same way that you came up, follow the small trail by the roadside.
In other words, walk briefly along Cam. A la Iglesia until you reach the narrow street of Juan Escutia.
You will find a little gazebo, seating area, and a lookout point here labeled as “Mirador San Antonio”. The views here are second to none and you usually don’t have to share them with anyone. As you continue your descent down towards the town center, you pass through some of the most quaint and photogenic streets and are greeted by a little chocolate shop at the bottom.
Search for Street Art
An alternative way to experience San Cristobal de Las Casas is to embark on something of an artsy treasure hunt and search for street art. There are several spectacular murals to be found around the city.
Some of these are simply nice to look at and others convey political messages. Several local tour companies do offer guided street art tours.
You can also opt to explore independently, stopping at coffee shops and restaurants to break up your adventure as you go. The locations of a few notable murals are detailed below.
- Indigenous peoples reclaiming history – Avenida Ignacio Allende 22, San Antonio, 29250
- See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkey mural – Diagonal Independencia 4C, Guadalupe, 29230
- Psychedelic faces by Teraz Patuano – Avenida Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Guadalupe, 29230
- Crew Ese Pajk Maya history mural – Diagonal Indendencia 4C, Guadalupe, 29230
- Paint and devotion mural by De Jose Antonio – Real de Guadalupe, Guadalupe, 29230
- Birds in Chiapas by Dygnojoch – Calle Doctor Navarro, El Cerrillo, 29220
Browse the Mercado Viejo
The Mercado Viejo is San Cristobal de Las Casas’ main produce market. Even if you have already explored countless Mexican markets at this point, the Mercado Viejo is a sight not to be missed.
The marketplace is a sprawling labyrinth of narrow passageways and alleys. It would be absolutely possible to get lost here.
The stalls sell everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to meats, cheeses, street food snacks, clothing items, and children’s toys. You will also see people standing around with live chickens for sale, and locals haggling ferociously about the going rates of various items.
As a tourist, you are perhaps unlikely to make a purchase here, unless you are staying in self-catered accommodation and would like to pick up some fresh fruit. However, from a people-watching perspective, this is one of the most fascinating parts of town.
Hunt for Beautiful Churches
There are several gorgeous, centuries-old churches scattered throughout San Cristobal de Las Casas. One of the best things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas is to mark them on a map and venture out to find each one.
Even if you are not religious, you can appreciate the beauty of these buildings. Furthermore, many of the churches here are situated in charming, offbeat neighborhoods that you may not have otherwise discovered.
The Church of Santo Domingo (also known as the Templo de la Caridad) is a stunning example of baroque architecture and one of the most beautiful churches in town. It was built in the 17th century by Dominican Friars.
Dozens of tented stalls crowd the path towards the church. Here, artisanal women sell all manner of handicrafts – you have to weave your way through the stalls to make it to the church entrance!
Enjoy a San Cristobal Food Tour
Upon arrival in San Cristobal de Las Casas, it can feel as though there are very few restaurants that serve Chiapescan cuisine. Indeed, if you do not know where you are going, they are hard to find among an abundance of eateries that cater to tourists and western tastes, along with the more generic Mexican taco restaurants.
One way to find the best local eateries and learn more about Chiapas food culture is to participate on a San Cristobal food tour. Tomate Quesillo is a small independent tour company that offers a number of different food tours to cater to different tastes.
Each tour lasts a couple of hours and will take you to 5-7 different restaurants and delicatessens for a tasting. Not only will you try the best local delicacies and produce, but local farmers and chefs will explain the inspiration behind their dishes and tell you culinary anecdotes from San Cristobal de Las Casas. This is one of the best things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas for foodie travelers.
Try Elevated Chiapescan Cuisine at Chef Claudia Santiz’s Restaurant
If there is one restaurant that you must be sure to dine at during your time in San Cristobal de Las Casas, it is Chef Claudia Santiz’s place (Calle Diego de Mazariegos 97, Barrio de la Merced, 29240). Claudia is an indigenous Tzotzil Chef that produces recipes based on her ancestor’s indigenous recipes yet with a modern twist.
The menu is handwritten and changes with the seasons based on what ingredients are at their freshest. Claudia spent a year working at Pujol restaurant – one of the best eateries in Mexico City, before returning to Chiapas to start her own restaurant.
Many of the dishes here are vegetarian. This is because prior to the Spanish bringing domestic animals into Mexico during their colonization, the indigenous people ate a mostly vegetarian diet.
The meat was only for special occasions. So, while there are some sumptuous meat dishes on the menu, those with dietary restrictions or who are vegetarian/vegan will easily be able to find dishes to suit them too.
To start, consider ordering a serving of the tomato and coriander soup, the soup of the day, or the Dobladas divorciadas (torn-up tortillas) with beans, cream, cheese, and seasonal greens. The beef rollitos are an exquisite choice for your main dish.
While you wait, you will be served a complimentary amuse-bouche. It is worth noting that the restaurant is known as “Kokono”. However, the sign outside says “Chef Claudia Santiz” and it is marked on the map as such.
Spend a Lazy Morning in Charming Coffee Shops and Cafes
If you don’t have the opportunity to tour the coffee plantations in Chiapas, you can still sample local beans at one of the many coffee shops in the area. Quaint establishments await on virtually every street corner.
However, not every San Cristobal coffee shop is created equal and there are a few places to keep in mind if you want to try the best of the best coffee. Cafe La Selva (Crescencio Rosas 9, Zona Centro, 29200) is an excellent spot.
The establishment serves a long list of coffees prepared with different beans from Chiapas that are then ground in-house. It can be overwhelming to decide what to choose from so you can ask the waiter for their recommendation.
Light snacks and lunches are also available on the menu and there is a beautiful courtyard surrounded by trees and flowers that makes a wonderful place to sit and while away a morning. Coffee products and apparatus are available for purchase here too.
Libre Cafe (Av Diego Dugelay 3, Barrio de Guadalupe, 29230) is another good place to sample local coffee. So too is Frontera Artisan Food and Coffee (Belisario Domínguez 35, Barrio del Cerrillo, 29220).
Shop for Chiapas Cheese
Chiapas cheese is an underrated and delicious agro product that makes a great foodie souvenir from Mexico. The main specialty cheese here is one called Chiapas Doble Crema..
This is a soft, fresh, crumbly white cheese made with additional cream to make it creamier. It’s based on the most common Mexican cheese, Queso Fresco.
Different variations of the cheese exist, with each local producer putting their own spin on how they choose to produce it. You may notice that the flavor varies a relative amount when you compare doble crema produced in the Chiapas highlands to that in Southern Chiapas or along coastal Tabasco.
There are several wonderful cheese shops and delicatessen in San Cristobal de Las Casas. They all let you enjoy a tasting of their various cheeses before you decide on which one to purchase.
Quesos Y Cosas San Cristobal (Av. 16 de septiembre 19, Centro, 29240) is a great choice. So too is Lácteos Maya (Av Diego Dugelay 4a, Barrio de Guadalupe, 29230) and Quesos Chiapas (Av Diego Dugelay 4B, Barrio de Guadalupe, 29230).
Indulge in Mexican Hot Chocolate at Cacao Nativa
Did you know that chocolate was invented in Mexico? The Olmec, one of the earliest civilizations in Latin America, was the first to turn the cacao plant into chocolate. They drank their chocolate during rituals and used it as medicine.
San Cristobal’s cooler mountain climes are perfect for enjoying a steaming cup of hot chocolate. This is particularly true if you are traveling to Mexico in January or during the winter months.
Xocol-Na Chocolate & Churros (Benito Juárez 16, Zona Centro, 29200) is a great place to indulge in a rich hot chocolate with a side of sinfully sweet churros for dipping. One of the best options though is Cacao Nativa.
They have several branches scattered throughout Chiapas. All ingredients are ethically-sourced in the local area and have improved the livelihood of local communities and families.
Their menu offers an extensive range of different hot and cold chocolate beverages. You can then choose the % cacao that you want.
You will want to come back here several times and experiment with a few! Fortunately, there is also a branch of Cacao Nativa at Chiapas airport so you can get a final chocolate fix before you depart!
Pick up Souvenirs in the Mercado de Dulces y Artesanías
The Mercado de Dulces y Artesanias is a great place to shop for artisanal products and handicrafts. Here you will find gorgeous tapestries, fabrics, and clothing handmade by local indigenous women.
Many of the bright and colorful bags sold here make great little daypacks to use while traveling. As the name suggests, a lot of Chiapescan sweets and candies are sold here too.
Consider purchasing a few from the pic-n-mix style sweet stalls. They make great sweet snacks for long bus rides and plane journeys across Mexico.
Among the diverse selection of treats here, you will find melcochas, puxinú (sweet popcorn), handmade nougat, chamomile sweets, throat lozenges, banana sweets, peanut yucca, coconut toast, and nuégado. The sweet market can be found at Av. Insurgentes No. 24, Barrio Santa Lucia.
Visit the Ambar Museum
The Museo del Ambar in San Cristobal de Las Casas is the only museum of its kind in the world. It is housed inside a former 16th-century convent and explains all things amber.
Chiapas’ amber is mined around Simojovel, just north of San Cristobal. The museum discusses amber’s history in the region as being used for protection and medicinal purposes.
It features more than 300 pieces of amber. Some have been carved into exquisite jewelry items, others exist in their raw, fossilized form and contain insects within.
Try Pox, a Local Liquor
Pox (pronounced posh) is one of the more unusual Mexican drinks. The Ancient Mayans would use it as part of their spiritual ceremonies.
Even today, Pox is used for religious purposes – particularly in the church of San Juan Chamula.
It was believed that drinking the liquor would perform something of an exorcism on the body and remove any unwanted spirits from within. The burning sensation felt when swallowing the alcohol (because it was so strong) was believed to be the evil leaving the body.
Pox often has a high alcohol content. It is sometimes to the tune of 50%!
You will find it served in some San Cristobal restaurants and often sold in tourist stores. The best experience though is to participate in a pox tasting and learn more about the history of the tipple.
A great place to do this is at the Posheria (Andador, Real de Guadalupe 46-A, Barrio de Guadalupe, 29230). The bar also produces innovative blends of Pox. For instance, the cacao pox is not to be missed.
Visit the Casa Na Bolom Museum
Another worthwhile place to visit if you are looking for cultured things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas is the Casa Na Bolom Museum. It was the home of archeologist Frans Blom and his wife, photographer, and journalist Gertrude Duby Blom.
Blom was one of the very first archeologists to excavate Palenque. Their small neoclassical house in San Cristobal de Las Casas was purchased in 1950 with a small inheritance from Blom’s mother.
It grew and transformed into something of a cultural center and hotel. Frans Blom owned an exceptional library with a collection of books on Mayan culture and heritage which he allowed the public to read for free in order to learn more about the indigenous people of the area.
Many notable guests stayed at Casa Na Bolom (House of the Jaguar) during its heyday. Guests included Henry Kissinger and Diego Rivera.
Sample Pan Coleto – the Bread of San Cristobal de Las Casas
Many bakeries in and around San Cristobal de Las Casas serve pan coleto (Chiapas coleto bread). This circular bread is prepared in the same traditional way today as it has been for decades.
It is kneaded by hand and then cooked over firewood. Local bakers start making the bread from dawn until 10 am when they start distributing it around the town.
It makes the perfect light breakfast snack accompanied by a strong cup of Chiapas coffee or a steaming pot of tea. You will find coleto bread served in a lot of bakeries in San Cristobal, as well as a select few cafes and even in the baked goods section of larger pharmacies!
Stroll Down Calle Real de Guadalupe
Calle Real de Guadalupe is essentially the main promenade that runs through San Cristobal de Las Casas. It is lined with an abundance of restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, and stores.
It runs all the way across town, bypassing Plaza le Paz and the San Cristobal de Las Casas cathedral. At its eastern end, you will find the Iglesia del Cerro de Guadalupe.
The entire street is pedestrianized so you can wander back and forth along its length without having to worry about cars. You will find a lot of street vendors here selling local products, street foods, and baskets filled with candy.
If you happen to get lost while exploring the city, you know that when you stumble back upon Real de Guadalupe, it is easy to get your bearings once again. Some of the best hotels in the city are found here and they make a great base for being within walking distance of all of the main attractions.
Hang Out in the Zocalo
The Zocalo is the name for the main square in any Mexican city. In San Cristobal, the zocalo is at the Plaza 31 de Marzo. This is a popular rendezvous point for locals and whatever time of day you stop by, you will often see groups of families and friends sipping coffee, sitting on the benches and steps, and simply hanging out.
Some of the most notable structures in San Cristobal can be found here. Look out for the Saint Nicolas Church and the Museum of the Governors Palace (MUSAC).
Visit the Plaza de la Paz
The Plaza de la Paz is a slightly larger city square that is situated just a couple of blocks away from the Plaza 31 de Marzo. Its focal point is the grand Catedral de San Cristóbal de las Casas.
Unfortunately, as of May 2022, the structure is surrounded by scaffolding so you cannot fully appreciate its beauty. The cathedral dates back to 1528 and features a baroque facade & a gilded altar.
Visit the Arco del Carmen
The Arco del Carmen sits at the very end of the cobbled pedestrian street Andador Eclesiastico. It was built in 1677 at which time it belonged to the Encarnación Convent.
There is a small piazza adjacent to the archway where you can sit, people watch, and enjoy some traditional Mexican street food. Everything from elotes (corn prepared with chili, cream, and lime) to sweet marquesitas (Mexican crepes) can be found here.
Indulge in a Luxury Dining Experience at Tierra y Cielo
If you consider yourself something of a gourmand, you absolutely want to make a reservation to dine at Tierra y Cielo while you are in San Cristobal. The eatery is the brainchild of renowned Chef Marta Zepeda.
Zepeda created the restaurant and its menu in order to showcase the cultural wealth of Chiapas cuisine and local ingredients. You can opt to order from the a la carte menu here or treat yourself to the 7-course tasting menu.
Many Mexican and international celebrities have been known to dine here (and rave about it). So you know that Tierra y Cielo is something special.
You absolutely need to make a reservation to dine here. This is particularly true if you hope to stop by during dates that coincide with a festival or on a Friday or Saturday night.
Where to Stay in San Cristobal de Las Casas
San Cristobal de Las Casas has an abundance of accommodation options for every budget and travel style. Whether you are a backpacker searching for sociable, shared accommodation or you want to indulge in a little luxury during your trip, this town has something for you.
Hotel Posada El Zaguan
Where: C. Guadalupe Victoria 65, Barrio de la Merced, 29240 San Cristóbal de las Casas
Hotel Posada El Zaguan is a gorgeous family-owned San Cristobal hotel that sits just a short walk away from the town’s main square. Its rooms and communal areas have been decorated in colorful Chiapescan style and offer luxury without the luxury price tag.
The vibrant rooms here are spacious, comfortable, and homely. Guests can enjoy a sumptuous home-cooked breakfast each day from the hotel’s glorious rooftop.
Both traditional Mexican and international breakfast fare is served on the a la carte breakfast menu. Click here to review the latest room rates and availability at Hotel Posada El Zaguan.
Where: 5 de Mayo 38, Barrio de Mexicanos, 29240 San Cristóbal de las Casas
If you are seeking a luxury accommodation experience in San Cristobal de las Casas, you need to look no further than Hotel Bo. This stylish design hotel boasts gorgeous contemporary rooms and suites with plush modern furnishings and all the amenities.
Every room and suite here boasts Egyptian cotton sheets, Molton Brown toiletries, hardwood floors, and stunning bathrooms. There is a spa on site along with a gym, flower garden, and exquisite restaurant. Click here to check the latest room rates and availability at Hotel Bo.
Getting to San Cristobal de Las Casas
It is very easy to get to San Cristobal de Las Casas from various points in Mexico by plane, bus, or car. Arguably the easiest option is to fly into Tuxtla Gutiérrez and then take a bus or cab from there.
Flying to San Cristobal de Las Casas
The closest airport to San Cristobal de Las Casas is Tuxtla Gutiérrez Ángel Albino Corzo International Airport. Flights to Tuxtla Gutiérrez take approximately 1 hour 25 minutes from Mexico City, 1 hour 14 minutes from Merida , 1 hour 40 minutes from Cancún, and 4 hours 20 minutes from Tijuana.
Numerous airlines service these various routes – including Aero Mexico, Viva Aerobus, and Volaris. You can get excellent deals on domestic Mexican flights if you book your tickets a couple of weeks in advance.
Buses between Ángel Albino Corzo International Airport and San Cristobal de Las Casas run approximately 8 times per day. The journey takes an hour and 15 minutes and tickets are 280 pesos per person, per way.
If your flight arrives in the evening, the buses and colectivos will no longer be running. So, you will need to take a taxi to San Cristobal or spend the night in Tuxtla Gutierrez or Chiapa de Corzo nearby.
Ángel Albino Corzo airport taxis are safe and convenient to use. It will cost approximately 1,000 pesos for a cab to San Cristobal de Las Casas. Cabs to Tuxtla Gutierrez or Chiapa de Corzo are around 350 pesos each respectively.
Buses to San Cristobal de Las Casas
Buses connect San Cristobal de Las Casas with Palenque, Campeche, the Yucatan, Mexico City, Tabasco, Oaxaca and beyond. Tickets across all major Mexican bus providers are usually very reasonably priced.
However, keep in mind that some journeys are very long. It takes 13–14 hours to get from Mexico City to San Cristobal de Las Casas.
The journey from Tuxtla Gutierrez to San Cristobal de Las Casas takes around an hour and 15 minutes. The bus from Palenque takes between 7 hours and 50 minutes and 10 hours depending on the bus provider.
On long and overnight journeys, it is worth paying extra for premium buses. For instance, the ADO premier bus.
Driving to San Cristobal de Las Casas
In general, renting a car in Mexico and opting to drive is not as daunting as it may sound. Opting to self-drive in Chiapas comes with the opportunity to visit many of the charming offbeat rural villages independently.
However, this is perhaps one of the more challenging parts of the country to drive in. Certain roads in the area require additional caution. In particular, the Ocosingo section of the road between San Cristobal and Palenque is notoriously dangerous.
This is on account of both the winding roads and frequent blockades by locals that demand money in order to let people pass. Many roads in Chiapas are poorly maintained, filled with potholes and topes (speed bumps).
It is best to avoid driving at night. This is both from a safety perspective and a visibility one.
Many roads in Chiapas are poorly lit. You may often encounter animals and people that venture onto the road and driving after dark just makes the entire driving experience much more stressful.
San Cristobal de Las Casas Packing List
San Cristobal de Las Casas sees cooler temperatures than much of Mexico, even during the summer months. This is on account of the city’s high altitude and mountain location.
In the summer months, the area does not see daytime temperatures that go much higher than 25 degrees Celsius. It can get very cold in the winter.
It is important to note that San Cristobal sees very different temperatures even when compared to nearby Chiapas towns such as Comitan de Dominguez, Tuxtla Gutierrez and Chiapa de Corzo. This is because they are not at the same high altitudes.
Depending on the specific time of year you are traveling, you will need to either pack Autumnal clothes or layer up. It is always worth bringing a warm jacket or cardigan for the evenings. A suggested San Cristobal de Las Casas packing list is detailed below.
- Theft-proof backpack for city exploration
- Packing cubes/compression bags for luggage
- Selfie stick with tripod feet, camera, and cellphone
- Umbrella and rain mac (if traveling between May – October)
- Reusable water bottle
- Hand sanitizer, N95 face masks, and antibacterial wipes
- 3-4 summer dresses for women (or shirts and long shorts for men)
- 2-3 light cardigans for cooler evenings
- Comfortable shoes for walking
- Flip flops/slippers for wearing in the hotel
- 1-2 evening outfits
- Period underwear (for women) or Diva cup
- Travel medical kit with necessary prescription pills
- Mosquito repellent and after-bite spray
- Rehydration sachets and pills for traveler’s diarrhea (better to be safe than sorry!)
Have you traveled to San Cristonbal de Las Casas or the wider Chiapas region? What did you think?