When dreaming of your next trip to Mexico, if you want to explore places off the beaten track, where the natural environment is unspoilt, and the local culture is colorful and vibrant, you need to ask yourself: where is San Cristobal de las Casas?
San Cristobal de las Casas is a town located in the Central Highlands region of Chiapas. Thanks to its luscious surroundings of rolling hills and forests, plus its reputation as the cultural capital of Chiapas, it is one of Mexico’s popular tourist destinations.
There is no shortage of San Cristobal activities that allow you to experience the great outdoors and natural beauty that the diverse state of Chiapas has to offer. In fact, some of the best waterfalls in Mexico can be found in the area. The large Agua Azul falls are famed for their namesake beautiful, bright blue water. This stunning spot is home to numerous trails and pools, where you can explore, go for a swim or simply spend time admiring the view and taking pictures.
Combine your visit to the waterfalls with a trip back in time to Ancient Palenque, by visiting the ruins of this Mayan city, which is set amongst the jungles of South Mexico. The UNESCO World Heritage site is a great introduction to Mayan culture for first-time visitors, as you will witness some of the best-preserved examples of Mayan history, architecture and artwork. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity as you venture through the jungle, discovering more waterfalls, temples and cascades via the different trails.
For a deeper exploration of the secretive Mayan culture, head to the mountains to spend time in the small mountain villages, home to this previously very private indigenous people. This is the best way to see the wonders of Mexico through the eyes of those who live there, as you embrace the culture, share a house in the Mayan community, eat their food and learn about their crafts and work practices. The Maya have only recently allowed foreigners to observe their homes and learn about their religious beliefs and customs, so be sure to take advantage of this rare opportunity.
Another easy day trip from San Cristobal itself is a boat journey down the Grijalva River to absorb the impressive views of the towering Sumidero Canyon. The Sumidero Canyon tour provides numerous photographic opportunities of these unique natural rock formations and the surrounding greenery. If you’re lucky, you may be able to spot native birds, spider monkeys or even crocodiles.
Whilst in the area, you can’t miss spending time in some of the quaint little towns. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around Chiapa de Corzo, where you can shop for handmade crafts, visit the cathedral or the town museum. San Cristobal itself is also worthy of your time, where a walk up to one of the many churches and cathedrals will reward you with intricate architecture and the chance to watch a unique religious ceremony. You’ll also find amazing panoramic views of the town and its main plaza from these vantage points.
You won’t be disappointed when wandering the streets, where you’ll stumble across boutique shops, quirky buildings, famous produce and crafts markets and delightful street art. Overall, it’s hard not to be blown away by how many breathtaking outdoor spots can be found in and around San Cristobal.