The southern Mexican state of Chiapas was in my bucket list for many years. Its unprecedented natural beauty and its similitude with Central America were the reasons I was attracted to it. Finally this year we were able to make the trip down there and let me tell you: it was worth it!
We landed in the international airport of Tuxtla Gutierrez, got our rental car and immediately drove to San Cristobal de las Casas (1 hours away). This little town flaunts the honorary title of the state’s cultural capital and it lives up to its title.
It was raining in San Cristobal on our arrival, but we decided to explored the town anyways. One of the hotel’s employee said: “It’s July hence the rain”. We looked at each other completely puzzled. What was she talking about? It’s only January. I asked her, and she said that the first 12 days of January are used to forecast what the whole year will be like: January 7th represents July and in July it rains a lot. August? Not so much. I never heard anything like that but hey if it meant it wasn’t going to rain on the 8th I was a happy camper! We ventured out, a little rain wasn’t going to stop us. Besides, rain adds a certain je ne sais quoi to nightly photographs.
(Don’t forget to click on the pictures to make them bigger)
We woke up late and after breakfast we decided to continue exploring the city under a little yet persistent rain. We were not the only ones, tourist and locals were out and about even under the cold weather and light rain.
The most iconic church in San Cristobal is its yellow, white and red cathedral. Located right on the zocalo (Downtown). It has some amazing details, and it’s the most photographed church in town.
We continued to walk on the andador (pedestrians only street) 20 de Noviembre. The andadores are lined up with restaurants, coffee shops, exchanges houses, souvenirs shops. This andador ends in a regional crafts market and we decided to go in. In here you can find more crafts and 100% real leather goods for an affordable price.
At the end of the market we found the church and ex-convent of Santo Domingo. This building is an amazing example of the baroque style. It was built in the 1600s by the indigenous people of the region.
It’s september (January 9th) the rain stopped! The forecast: sunny but cold days ahead, but the cold didn’t bother us, San Cristobal de Las Casas is full of color and flavor.
We decided to walk to Guadalupe Church. This church is up on a hill, and it can be seen from andador Guadalupe Real. After walking for several blocks and going up 80 steps, we reached the church. From this hill you get a spectacular view of the town.
The life of this town beats at the rhythm of a marimba even after night fall. You can hear a group playing the marimba along with a saxophone while drinking some hot chocolate in the kiosk located in Plaza 31 de Marzo.
In the towns nearby have a primarily indigenous population. These inhabitants speak their native languages and sometimes have a hard time speaking Spanish. They come into San Cristobal to sell goods: shawl, souvenirs, candies and coffee.
It’s low season already but there are lots of tourists in town, specially French Canadian and British. Americans? Not so much. Residents of Mexico City also teem in this picturesque town.
San Cristobal de las Casas is a wonderful town to relax and enjoy the weather while you drink a cup of delicious hot chocolate. We really enjoy the 3½ days that we spent in San Cristobal. Now, I understand why many people decides to stay here for longer periods of time or even permanently. San Cristobal is truly a magical town.