Set in the highland valley of the Mexican state of Chiapas, the colonial city of San Cristobal de las Casas has been a popular traveler’s destination for decades. With its cobbled streets and markets, unique ambience and the clear highland light, San Cristobal boasts a blend of city and countryside, with restored houses giving way to grazing animals and fields of corn.
Mexican festivals reflect the local customs and traditions of the area and San Cristobal de las Casas is surrounded by small indigenous groups of Mexican people with many ancient traditions, which are still very much celebrated today. In addition to the national holidays celebrated throughout the country, the city has its own festive days.
The main religious celebrations in San Cristobal take place during Easter, when the traditional “Procesión del Vía Crucis” (“Procession of the Way of the Cross”) is held along with a Saturday fair announcing the resurrection.
Also, between November and December, the Guadalupana torch race is held in the name of Mexican culture, which involves young pilgrims whose mission it is to go to Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Guatemala in groups and return to San Cristobal, running with the torch lit in time for the Virgin of Guadalupe party on December 12.
Another important festival is the Carnival in San Juan Chamula, held in February and March. During this celebration, parades, masses, purification and healing rituals can be seen, including walking on burning coals, a ritual with chicken eggs, and animals sacrificed in the name of the ancient Mayan people and their gods, the Catholic God, and the saints, for protection.
In addition to a solid tourist infrastructure and a dynamic population of artistic and politically progressive foreigners and locals, San Cristobal also has a great selection of accommodations and cafes, bars and restaurants, alongside its fantastic festivals and local customs.