Getting To and Getting Around San Cristóbal de las Casas

After a wonderful 8 days in Merida, we headed to San Cristóbal de las Casas, a city in the Chiapas region of Mexico.  We had looked into buses and flights, but after hearing terrible omens about the bus rides and finding a flight bookable on points, we opted for the plane.  We were lucky to find a great, non-stop flight from Merida to Tuxtla Gutierrez, the biggest city and capital of Chiapas.  After having no issues except for a slight delay, we arrived to Tuxtla, found a shuttle (collectivo van really, but nice) that went to the center of San Cristobal, and headed to our hostel.  San Cristobal is at 2,200+ meters elevation, so the weather here is significantly different than the 100 degree days we grew accustomed to in Merida; it's usually between 60-70 degrees in San Cristobal, and we've been wearing pants and long sleeves. For reference, Denver is at 1730 meters, and we're solidly over a mile up here.

Flying into the Chiapas highlands (Adam loves highlands)

On the shuttle ride from the airport, we could see 4 distinct rainstorms in the valleys at one point.

San Cristobal is also the rainiest part of Mexico, and this is their rainy season, so there's that, too.  After getting off the shuttle, we started our walk to the hostel, figuring we'd find food along the way.  Thankfully, the rain didn't really start getting heavy until we were right on Real de Guadalupe, a main street with tons of restaurants and shops, so we quickly ducked into the closest one we found, had some decent pizza, and waited out the heaviest rains.  We did eventually make it to our hostel, albeit a bit wet.  While we didn't get to pay as much attention to the city on our walk because of the weather and lack of familiarity, we were excited by what we saw!  There were coffee shops, restaurants, shops, people, squares, etc., and it had a very cosmopolitan feel to it.

Catedral de San Cristobal, as we waited for the walking tour to start

Some of the art at a local shop & gallery

Graffiti is common and often well done here, a hallmark of an arty city

The morning after arriving in San Cristobal, we were talking to some people at our hostel and a few of us decided to go on a free walking tour that was at 10:00am and lasted for three hours.  This was a great way to spend our first morning in town, and the tour ended up lasting for five hours!  Over the five hours, our guide Jose took us to coffee shops, and soup restaurants, and jewelry shops, and markets, and French bakeries, and spectacular viewpoints (miradors), finally ending at a Pox (pronounced 'poash') bar.  Pox is an alcohol made from corn that is native to Chiapas.  It's pretty strong, and there's a specific way that it needs to be made to be called Pox.  We were able to taste three different kinds - the regular one, a chocolate one, and a berry/hibiscus one.  As I'm not really a drinker, the regular one tasted like rubbing alcohol to me, but the other two were pretty good.  We actually headed back to the Pox bar, La Espirituosa, a few nights later and tried the other drink that they made: Cometico, made of agave (like Mezcal and Tequila).  Again, tasted like rubbing alcohol to me, but Adam really enjoyed it and got a bottle of the Blanco Cometico for himself.  I sometimes wish that I had a better palate for alcohol or even wine or beer, but I don't think it's something I'm ever going to develop or really enjoy - I'm happy that I have a pretty good palate for food.

Chocolate, Hibiscus (Jamaica) and regular Pox

San Cristobal has been a great city to walk around and explore.  It's an older colonial city, with streets made of limestone.  There are tons of restaurants of many different types, including sushi, Thai, Italian, Lebanese, and Argentinian.  While we're getting out and doing plenty of things outside of the city, we're taking our time and enjoying wandering as well.  We've met some great people here as well, many of whom are traveling or have traveled a fair bit in Mexico and Central America, and it's prompting us to think about where we're headed.  Guatemala wasn't originally on our list, but after many conversations with many travellers, we've reconsidering it.  Same goes for taking language classes - it was something we'd considered, but hadn't looked into it too deeply.  While we're picking some Spanish up, we're not picking up as much as we'd like, and I think we'd both really like to work on that soon.  Stay tuned for updates on that.

Panorama of San Cristobal near Iglesia del Cerrito

Neighborhoods are built on the hillsides around the city center

Iglesia Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo de Guzman

Near the entrance to the market, grapes and nanche (we didn't like those much)

A new friend at the wet market; we did not go down into here to Melissa's relief

Candles are sold everywhere, the colors are meaningful and they're used frequently in religious ceremonies

Adam can rarely pass up a picture of dried chiles for sale

The hostel we're staying at, La Posada de Abuelito, was singularly recommended by pretty much everything we read, and has been our most fruitful hostel, socially. The only other stay that compares is Reggae Hostel in Ocho Rios, where we made some friends early and went on several excursions together. This place has a really nice feel, especially with its heavy wool, mountain folk blankets to match the weather.

Elevation often changes here

Quality street art

Near the end of our tour, charming colonial streets with negligible sidewalks


  1. That's a lot of chiles!! Hope it's mostly an early morning raiin, 60-70 is great walking weather

  2. The opposite, actually - mornings are chilly and sunny, rain usually around 2:00pm for an hour or so, then sometimes clears up (like yesterday) or sometimes stays crappy (like today).