San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico: Top things to see
San Cristobal de las Casas in the south of Mexico is a wonderful little city. Surrounded by forested hills, the colourful streets will leave you smitten. From strolling between the many churches to sampling the local “pox”, San Cristobal is a breath of fresh air.
Walking around San Cristobal
Many guides for San Cristobal discuss activities to do outside the city but I’ll be focusing on what to do in the city. One of the nicest things to do is simply walk. The historical centre is beautiful and the colourful buildings give off a very cosy atmosphere! The cobbled streets are fabulous to stroll around and everything is easily within walking distance.
If you’re a fan of coffee or looking for somewhere to eat, head to 20 de noviembre. This long pedestrianised street is lovely to walk in the morning! You’ll find some buskers and people selling all manner of colourful attire. From here, cross the square where Catedral de San Cristobal sits and you’ll find Real de Guadalupe.
Also pedestrianised, walking Real de Guadalupe at any time of the day is a joy. From people selling arts and crafts to buskers’ music filling the air, the whole street is alive with creative energy. You’ll also find many bars and a thriving social scene!
Bars and nightlife in San Cristobal
One spot to check out on Real de Guadalupe is La Viña de Bacco. Their vast selection of wine starts at 20 pesos (about $1) a glass and included with every drink is a free tapa. The tapas are pieces of sliced baguette covered in a variety of toppings. If you’re vegetarian just inform your waiter. You’ll also be treated to bottomless popcorn!
Close by you’ll find Kinoki where you can sit on the terrace and watch the sun set in a relaxed atmosphere. Or, just a couple of blocks away you’ll find the cozy Café Bar 500 Noches. While 500 Noches is a bit more expensive, on a chilly evening the music and atmosphere will warm you up!
If you like spirits you can try pox, a San Cristobal classic, at Posheria. The bar itself is small but it has seating outside and you have a selection of pox to indulge in. The traditional and ceremonial flavours are strong and if you like sipping on spirits, I highly recommend trying them. A small shot is 50 pesos (about $2.70) while a larger one is 80 pesos.
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Other things to see in San Cristobal
From Real de Guadalupe you’ll see the steps leading to Iglesia de Guadalupe in the distance. Climbing to the top, you’ll have a beautiful view of the whole street. While it doesn’t offer a panorama, you can walk around the church for views of the surrounding countryside.
For an experience in nature, head to Orquideas Moxviquil Botanical Gardens (OM for short). The gardens is divided into two sections, each 50 pesos entry, and you can walk through the mountainous area or check out the greenhouses to see their orchids. From San Cristobal centre, it takes about 20 minutes to walk to OM.
For fans of street art and graffiti, San Cristobal is full of surprises! The best way to see it is to put on your walking shoes and explore. Head to Policia Estatal Preventiva and you’ll find a long wall covered in excellent art ranging from traditional graffiti to more elaborate installations. The wall along Calle Eloy Cabazos runs for a couple of blocks and you’ll get lost in the beauty of the art. It is definitely worth visiting to see the artistic talent!
Another great spot for graffiti is Xpressions Skatepark. Many of the ramps are covered in fantastic art and if you’re into skateboarding, it’s a fabulous place to spend the day!
San Cristobal de las Casas is a beautiful city. The relaxed atmosphere along the pedestrianised streets is infectious; from strolling through cobbled streets to seeing the arts and crafts on sale; from cheap, awesome wine to pox, San Cristobal has something for everyone. Just remember to bring a jacket; it tends to rain quite a lot!
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