Hermoso San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
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[Photos] The beauty of San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico is nestled in the lush mountains of Chiapas. It is easily one of the prettiest places I have ever stayed in Mexico. The narrow cobblestone streets and brightly coloured buildings made a bountiful canvas for picture-taking. Chiapas is a strange place. One in which the culture of both the Indigenous Mayan and the Spanish Colonial have merged, but not completely harmoniously.
You can see it in the buildings and food, but most prominently you can see it in their places of worship. Where the Mayans have embraced aspects of Catholicism but also kept their own traditions such as sacrifices and shaman. And Coke is often worshipped just as much as the saints.
THINGS TO DO IN SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, MEXICO
A church that you drink alcohol and smoke in?
The above photo is of one of the most interesting buildings I came across in Mexico. From the outside, it looks like any other church. But once inside the Church of St John the Baptist, you will realise it’s actually not like any other at all. The first thing you’ll notice is the pine needles on the floor. Don’t worry they are there for a reason… You will probably notice Christmas music playing, even if it’s nowhere near Christmas time.
Next, you might notice that families are drinking, eating and smoking while sitting amongst the candles and pine needles. They are drinking Pox, a kind of Mexican moonshine, and they must finish the whole bottle before they leave the church.
Finally, you will see a chicken or two, dead or alive. They are sacrificed here, their necks broken and then taken home to make a dish for the whole family to share as they continue their worship outside of the church.
Na Bolom Museum
Na Bolom is the museum of Frans and Trudy Blom – two exceptionally interesting explorers who spent their lives protecting the culture and heritage of the surrounding Mayan regions – and the work they did.
The name Na Bolom is a play on local Indigenous dialect and the last names of the founders; for Bolom in Mayan means Jaguar. The museum supports an array of inspirational projects within the communities including heritage and culture, sustainable development, climate change and community health programs. And to top it all off – any profits made by Na-Bolom go straight back into the local communities. This is eco-tourism at its finest.
READ: The Budget Guide to Chiapas including San Cristobal, Tuxtla and Palenque
Juan Chamula Sacrificial Church
Make sure you take the time to visit Juan Chamula as this is where you will find the sacrificial church. The town itself is cute and there are markets, views and walks you can do from the tiny town centre.
Visit Na Bolom Museum as well to help support the amazing work the museum does for local tribes and animal protection. There are many other museums scattered around as well such as the Museum of Jade, Mayan Medicine Museum and the Museum of Mayan Textiles, there are also art galleries, local produce markets, yoga classes and really, really good food.
Where to stay in San Cristobal
Cheap: Puerta Vieja Hostel is a neo-classic building is modernly refurbished to accommodate any backpackers needs in the heart of the city centre. Equipped with big comfortable beds, a spacious outdoor area, bar with a fireplace and FREE COCKTAIL FRIDAY this is a place for sweet backpacker vibes.
Boutique: Casa Na Bolom is the same building as the museum and definitely a unique experience to stay in. Each room is intricately decorated with antique furniture, elaborate artwork from local artists and museum artefacts. If you’re attracted to staying in the same place as the likes of Henry Kissinger or Diego Riviera, then stay in this not-for-profit eco-hotel.
Where to eat in San Cristobal
Maya’e Restaurant: For slow cooked pork and fried fish for only 60 pesos.
Oh La La: This amazing bakery could easily have popped up on the streets of Europe with all the delights from home and the prices to match.
WHERE NEXT? Read my Guide to the Yucatan Peninsula, including Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Tulum
Place: San Cristobal in Chiapas
Currency: Mexican Peso
$1 USD = 18.92 Mex$
I was here: November 2014
WHERE TO NEXT? My next Guide will take you to Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido and Mexico City. Like my Facebook Page and I will post when the next guide is ready!
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