If I have to choose a place for living… San Cristóbal de las Casas would be the one. I have a lot to share with you about this special place, so lets start from the basics.
Picture this… you are on the road after visiting some magnificent places in Chiapas, México; your last stop seems to be up in the mountains and while you get closer to your destiny you notice the beautiful landscape outside the window, start feeling the weather getting colder and if you are a good observer you can also see people dressed in different but beautiful costumes. You become more and more exited about the adventure you are about to live and you are right.. this adventure will be one of your favorites ever.
Suddenly you are there, the bus stops and you pick your bags and start walking but you have this big question on mind
Where to go?
I can guarantee once you start walking and feeling the vibe of the place you will not need a plan for exploring, but if you are the king of people that get anxious if not have a plan, the following places will be a good start:
- Plaza de Santo Domingo: This beautiful and colorful place is like a market outside of one of the biggest church in town where you can buy or just see art crafts made by indigenous people from communities closer to San Cristóbal or foreigners who get in love with this magical town and decide to stay and get involve in the magic vibe you can feel here. Take your time before buying stuff, go around and enjoy the little details you can watch there. If you are lucky, you will be able to see the artisans working on their crafts and meet very interesting people who can show you or talk to you about the traditions in Sancris (Sancris is a common way to refer to this magic town)
- Andadores:These are pedestrian-only streets and you can find 3 of them while walking around the town. The one I like the most is “Andador de Guadalupe” and while walking there you will be able to see a lot of coffee shops, each one will have a unique touch that will invite you to sit and enjoy the day while watching people going around. Also you can find here from clothing stores, jewelry, to crafts and more. While sitting on one of those coffee shops, you will see women and kinds selling stuff like scars, clay figures, bracelets and more. The names of the other two pedestrian-only streets are “Andador Eclesiástico” and “Andador del Carmen”. Both of them have their unique style and are worth walking them.
- Candy and craft market: Near the church of San Francisco you can find this market. Once you are there you will be able to experience and taste different smells, flavors and admire textiles and jewelry. Don´t be scare of trying these magnificent flavors you won´t be able to taste in other places, the risk is totally worth it.
- Local market:Don´t be scare to get totally involved in the routine of the coletos (coletos is the name that people from San Cristóbal received). This market must be a challenge for some people, watching hens everywhere and people shouting and passing by really near may not be one of your favorite things to do, but if you give this market a try you will discover things that you won´t be able to see in other places. Here you can buy and get to know typical food, exotic fruits and rare vegetables you haven´t seen before. Also you can find exotic stuff just as “Copaleras” which are used by people to start a little fire and make some cleans and ceremonies.
Why is called a magic town?
This town beside the classification receive by government is called a magic town because the vibe you feel once you are there, the mood of the people, the superstitions that surround the town, the history of the valley and many more you will figured out once you are there. “Jovel” is the name the valley receive and traditions say that the big rocks you will be able to see while getting closer to Sancris are the guardians of the valley who had been there taking care of the communities close to sancris and of Sancris of course since many years before.
San Cristóbal de las Casas is a colonial town in the south of México. It belongs to Chiapas and is famous for its colonial architectures that give this place another touch of magic.
Near San Cristóbal
Close to this town, many indigenous communities are located. The best knowns are San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán. Both have things worth to see and you can get there by taking a bus, which is economic, and have a big timetable to choose.
Despite Chiapas is the natural richest state in México, is also one of the poorest in the economic hand. As a 3rd wold country you will be face to face with a poverty issue. Little kinds will be trying to sell you crafts and it will be hard to say them no. Besides all the beauty of the landscapes and the good vibes you will feel there, I suggest you to take a moment to reflect on the problems the world still facing. Is sad to see how culture is decreasing, how one state can face two contradictory realities and how the government still working for things that no matter at all.
San Cristóbal de las Casas can give you the adventure of your life, it´s your choice how to take the best of it. Walk the town, talk to people, try new flavors, enjoy a cup of coffee, admire the landscapes and give a smile… you are alive and able to travel a magic place where traditions make people get in love of the town and help to remember the little things that really matter.