This colonial town lies in a beautiful, green valley in southern Mexico, and it has one of the most unique, distinctive cultures in the country. Since San Cristobal de las Casas is primarily inhabited by indigenous people, the culture of the town is vastly different from what you would experience in Mexico City or Cancun. Visiting San Cristobal is a bit like taking a trip back in time to explore the ancient Mayan civilization, as the town and its surroundings are filled with Mayan-speaking indigenous people wearing authentic dress and practicing their own traditions. So for those who want to experience a different side of Mexico, San Cristobal de las Casas is definitely a great city to visit.
I recently had the chance to explore San Cristobal, but the opportunity came out of nowhere. Fortunately, I love taking spur-of-the-moment trips, so I immediately said yes to the adventure and booked my last-minute hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas through HotelTonight. Within ten minutes, I was ready to jet off to Mexico to experience the rich culture and beauty of San Cristobal.
San Cristobal’s colonial heritage is still evident around every street corner. The town’s cobbled streets, white adobe walls and red-tile roofs create a charming aesthetic, and you can find some of the city’s most beautiful buildings surrounding the main plaza. By exploring the plaza, you can get a beat on the city almost immediately, which is why it was the first place I visited when I arrived in San Cristobal. This idyllic city center is full of life, energy and gorgeous buildings, such as the Cathedral, and you can spend hours in and around the plaza shopping, eating and people watching.
The best way to see San Cristobal is by walking, as the city streets are practically made for pedestrians. So after I spent some time absorbing San Cristobal’s energy and unique culture in the main plaza, I walked over to the market, where I wandered past stalls of colorful spices, eye-catching textiles, and succulent fresh fruit. If you want to find some authentic, delicious (and cheap!) eats in San Cristobal, look no further than the market, which is a favorite spot among locals because of its abundance of fresh food and handcrafted products.
San Cristobal is located in the state of Chiapas, which is known as a haven for nature lovers. Chiapas is home to lush forests and striking mountains, and I knew I couldn’t visit San Cristobal without exploring some of the surrounding natural beauty, so I decided to visit Sumidero Canyon. This majestic river gorge is about an hour away from San Cristobal, but it’s well worth the day trip if you want to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. I took a guided boat tour down the river, and during the tour we passed breathtaking limestone cliffs, sky-high waterfalls and even crocodiles.
After experiencing the jaw-dropping beauty of Sumidero Canyon, I had a craving to experience more of Chiapas’ natural wonders. So I decided to take another day trip, but this time I headed to the El Chiflon waterfalls. This park is an easy drive or bus trip away from San Cristobal, and it boasts great hikes, beautiful waterfalls and aquamarine pools. I made sure to bring my swimsuit so that I could hop in one of the pools to cool off after my hike, and it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. As I swam in a pool fed by the cascading waterfall, I had to pinch myself as a reminder that I wasn’t dreaming. If you love nature, you’ll love to explore the natural surroundings of San Cristobal. I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to really explore all of the area’s natural wonders, but from what I did experience, I can say that Chiapas is a must-visit area for outdoors enthusiasts.
Mexico has so much more to offer than pretty beaches and lively city centers, and I discovered this during my recent trip to San Cristobal. I only had a few days in this town, but I felt that I got a great sense of the pulse of San Cristobal, and it’s certainly different from every other Mexican town I’ve visited. The culture and history of San Cristobal is so unique, which is why I enjoyed getting to know the city and the locals during my brief stay. I love saying yes to new adventures, because you just never know what you’ll stumble upon when you open up your horizons, and I’m glad that HotelTonight makes it so easy for me to book last-minute hotels in cities all over the world. The next time I decide to hop on an airplane on a whim, I know I’ll be booking my last-minute hotel through HotelTonight.