San Cristobal de las Casas, located in the state of Chiapas, a region east of Oaxaca and south of Villahermosa is, without question, Mexico’s most stunning scenic area. Mostly wild and rugged, it is rich in indigenous life and culture. The following is a list of fun facts about San Cristobal de las Casas.
1. It was settled by the Mayans and Spanish
San Cristobal de las Casas lies at the center of an ancestral Mayan region that gave rise to the modern-day Mayan ruins and the Tzotzil and Tzeltal peoples. The city itself owes its origins to the Spanish conquistador Diego de Mazariegos, who established the settlement of Villarreal de Chiapa de los Españoles in 1528.
2. It was the capital of the state of Chiapas
San Cristobal de las Casas was once the state capital of Chiapas, when the state was under Guatemalan rule.
3. The town is located high in the mountains
The city is situated at 7,000 feet above sea level, in a lush green valley where the air is fresh and you can experience that unique clarity of highland light.
4. There are many outdoor activities
With easy access by road from the state’s capital city, Tuxtla Gutierrez, good local infrastructure and amenities, and surrounded by some of Mexico’s most breath-taking scenery and unspoiled underground rivers and other natural wonders, It’s no surprise that San Cristobal is Chiapas’ top destination for adventure tourism.
5. It can get really cold
Weather in San Cristobal can be chilly when the sun isn’t out, especially during the winter. Most hotels are not heated, although some have fireplaces. Take note that there is always a possibility of rain.
6. St Christopher is the town’s patron saint
The Fiesta de San Cristobal, which is celebrated around the end of July, celebrates the city’s Patron Saint (St Christopher) with celebrations, processions and an all-night vigil.
7. Handmade crafts vary by neighborhood
The city is made up of a series of traditional “barrios” (neighborhoods), each of which is known for a particular trade or custom, such as iron working, carpentry and woodcarving.
8. San Cristobal has something for everyone
Several interesting day trips from San Cristobal include visits to the outlying highland villages of San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo Zinacantan. Both towns offer a unique glimpse into the traditions and customs of the region’s indigenous Mayan communities.