San Cristobal de las Casas is a city in Chiapas, Mexico. Things to do in San Cristobal include;
- San Cristobal de las Casas Church
- Ex-Convento Santo Domingo Church
- Sumidero Canyon
- Aguas Azules and Palenque Day Trip
- San Juan de Chamula
- Lagunas de Montebello and El Chiflon
- Bus from San Cristobal to Oaxaca
San Cristobal has excellent value hotels therefore it’s a good place to chill out for a few days.
San Cristobal de las Casas Church
As a tourist, San Cristobal de las Casas is perfect, it’s small, safe as well as clean. Additionally, 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. Lastly, you can get a great shot of the famous church with the cross in front of it on the plaza.
Ex-Convento Santo Domingo Church
The Ex-Convento Santo Domingo Church has a pink facade, as a result it’s a popular Instagram spot in San Cristobal. Unfortunately, there’s a market at the entrance but if you visit early morning you should have it to yourself. Finally, the church is of Baroque architecture.
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 and it’s easy to book a day trip from San Cristobal.
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. Mot importantly, you can visit on a day trip from San Cristobal.
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 as you’re guaranteed to see lots of wildlife!
San Juan Chamula
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! Finally, San Juan de Chamula has a bad reputation, therefore I recommend you visit on an organised day trip.
Lagunas de Montebello and El Chiflon
El Chiflon waterfall is stunning, furthermore, it drops into lots of emerald colored pools. For this reason, it truly is a top Instagram spot in Chiapas. You can visit El Chiflon conveniently on an organised tour from San Cristobal.
How to get from San Cristobal to Oaxaca
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. There are several buses a day between San Cristobal and Oaxaca which leave from the central bus station.