San Cristóbal de las Casas is a city in Chiapas, Mexico. It offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- San Cristóbal de las Casas church
- Ex-Convento Santo Domingo church
- Day trips to Sumidero Canyon
- Day trips to Aguas azules and Palenque
- Day trips to San Juan de Chamula
- Day trips to lagunas de montebello and el chiflon
- Many museums in the city
As a tourist, San Cristóbal de las Casas is perfect, it’s small, it’s safe and it’s clean. There are lots of great value restaurants, bars and hotels. The whole town is walkable and there is a lot of colorful Spanish colonial architecture to photograph. You can get a great shot of the cathedral with the cross in front of it on the plaza.
The company I used for my day tours from San Cristóbal de las Casas was Tours por Chiapas, they are reliable and most hotels in town recommend this company. The office is in the center of town, you can book the tour you want to go on the day before and they’ll tell you what time you must be there the next day.
When I visited aguas azules, which means blue water, the water was actually green. The reason I was given for this was because there had been heavy rain for the previous few days and sediment had been washed down. Normally the water appears blue, I guess i’ll have to go back one day! There are several waterfalls and beautiful views in this well organised park, it’s even possible to swim in some parts. This place really is a photographers dream.
Palenque was a Mayan city state in Mexico from 226 BC to 799. This makes it over 2000 years old! Palenque is not as famous as Chichen Itza or Teotihuacan, probably because it’s not close to Cancún or Mexico City. It’s in the middle of the jungle in Chiapas which gives it a more natural feel than the more famous archaeological sites. You can wander around here and virtually enjoy the place to yourself, which makes for great photography. You can walk on most of the buildings too and there are almost no hecklers.
As part of the tour of Sumidero canyon you’ll go by boat through the canyon. It isn’t as beautiful as the grand canyon but it offers a lot more wildlife including;
- Crocodiles (baby crocodiles too if you’re lucky)
- Spider monkeys
There is a lot of fauna and flora to appreciate here too. It’s a photographers paradise, you are guaranteed to see lots of wildlife!
San Juan de Chamula is the village of an independent Tzotzil community. It is an autonomous state within Mexico and does not allow outside police or military. Their religion is a mixture of pre-Hispanic and Catholicism. In the church the medicine man was prescribing various remedies for the people. One of the strangest things I have ever seen is people drinking coke in order to burp, releasing bad energy from the body. Here in Chamula, coke is not a soda that is bad for you, but a remedy!
At San Juan de Chamula church, there are many Tzotzil Maya children who want a photo with you, then they’ll want some change. That’s why I have uploaded the photo here, so I can get my 10 pesos worth!
The bus services in Mexico are excellent, better than Europe and cheaper too! The OCC service to Oaxaca was a very smooth journey, I arrived early in the morning in Oaxaca city after a great sleep on the bus.