Mexico – San Cristóbal de las Casas

Nestled in a valley and surrounded by thick forests of pine and oak lies the magical town of San Cristóbal de las Casas. This town is situated in Chiapas, about 220km from Palenque. It’s a lovely and lively town, largely inhabited by indigenous people, which adds an interesting cultural flair.

View of the area we stayed at in San Cristóbal de las Casas
The streets of San Cristóbal de las Casas

The town rests at an elevation of 2200m in altitude, this and its mountain location further contributes to this towns appeal and climate. The days were cold and the nights were even colder, ranging from about 15 – 23 degrees Celsius. We were certainly not prepared for the cold temperatures.

As soon as we stepped foot into San Cristóbal de las Casas, I was in LOVE. My heart was beating a little quicker than normal and life just felt different – I started singing and dancing. Besides the cold, I loved every single corner of this town. Actually, the cold probably made me enjoy my time here even more. San Cristóbal de las Casas is a very charming colonial town with buildings painted in shades of pastel yellow, orange, blue, and purple. It is one of the most scenic towns in Mexico, it’s definitely my favourite town in the country.

My favourite area in San Cristóbal de las Casas

There is no shortage of accommodations in San Cristóbal de las Casas. After some research, we decided to stay somewhere as Mexican as we could which was about 110 MXN / R 80 pppn. We spent 5 nights in this town, from Friday the 9th to the 14th of November 2018.

The view from the place we stayed at
The view from the place we stayed at
The view from the place we stayed at

Gusanos de Maguey (Maguey Worms)

In Mexico, insects were the country’s source of protein as they did not have meat back then and today they continue to be delicacies.

Maguey Worms

They are either fried with a crispy crunch like chips, used to add texture to rice soup or found in alcohol like Mescal. For those who might not be ready to consume a whole one, a powder of ground up worms is also available.

5 Things to do in San Cristóbal de las Casas

When it comes to things to do in San Cristóbal de las Casas, trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed – whether you favour adventure, culture or nature, you will find all of that and more!

1. Walk aimlessly around the town

One of the best things you can do in San Cristóbal de las Casas is just wander around the cobblestone streets and get lost in this town’s undeniable charm. Its great way to acquaint yourself with a new place.

The streets of San Cristóbal de las Casas
The colourful markets
Walking around town
The streets of San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristóbal de las Casas

2. Explore the many churches and temples

Cathedral of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Templo de Santo Domingo and Iglesia del Cerrito were some of my favourite.

The Cathedral of San Cristóbal de las Casas

3. Visit El Cañon del Sumidero (Sumidero Canyon)

A boat tour of Sumidero Canyon is a popular day trip to take from San Cristóbal de las Casas. And if you’re lucky, you may spot some crocodiles or monkeys during the 2 hour ride. I love canyons, they’re a great reminder of how enormous the earth really is. This one reminded me of South Africa’s breathtaking Blyde River Canyon.

Exploring Sumidero Canyon by boat
A beautiful waterfall that spans the entire wall of the canyon
Spotted some monkeys at Sumidero Canyon
Spotted a crocodile at Sumidero Canyon

4. El Chiflon Waterfall

Located in the town of Benito Juarez, these breathtaking waterfalls reminded me of Agua Azul. Although, unlike Agua Azul, each waterfall at El Chiflon sits apart from the others and has its own distinct character.

There are five waterfalls in the park, starting with Sigh Waterfalls which is the furthest downstream, followed by Angel Wing Waterfall, Bridal Veil Waterfall (which is the biggest – about 120m high), Rainbow Waterfall and Quinceañera Waterfall.

You can also do zip lining above the waterfalls for 170 MXN / R 120pp.

El Chiflon
Bridal Veil Waterfalls
El Chiflon

5. Lagunas de Montebello national park

Lagunas de Montebello National Park is a protected area next to the border with Guatemala.

I will never forget this day, not necessarily because the park is incredibly beautiful but because on this day I had the wrong outfit on. For some reason, that morning when I imagined my day, I imagined a day filled with “sun kissed” moments, you know, and I wore my cute shorts made of satin.

Reality – It was about 5 degrees Celsius with a real feel of death. I didn’t let my stupidity hold me back though, I still made sure I saw all the lakes and of course take photos, haha!

Lovely view of one of the lakes in Montebello National Park
Lovely view of one of the lakes in Montebello National Park
A recap of all the places explored in Mexico

We wandered. We ate. We drank. We saw. We danced.

I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to have been fortunate enough to explore this amazing country. After spending a total of 54 days in Mexico, it was time to leave.

Thank you for reading,

Dineo Zonke.

5 Replies to “Mexico – San Cristóbal de las Casas”

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