Mexico is a sneaky sightseers paradise. From the outside it’s all coasts and beaches and frat boys. But delve a little deeper and the true number of culturally rich, historically important towns runs off the page. You could easily spend a couple of months here and not even scratch the surface.
With a set date locked in to meet my babe Bridget in Belize, I had to plan my time in Mexico wisely. Through the grapevine (and the interwebs) I’d both heard and read great things about a quaint mountain town of San Cristobal De Las Casas, and decided to spend my last couple of tacos, I mean days, there. Set in the highlands of the region of Tabasco and Chiapas, the colourful cobblestone streets, were not long ago the base of the Zapatista rebels, and are also home to one of the biggest indigenous communities in Mexico.
So after soaking up those final rays (for the moment) I night-bussed it from Puerto Escondido up the mountains, arriving just as the sun came up.
Side note: To anyone looking to backpack across Central and South America, could not recommend an overnight bus more. Granted they definitely vary in quality from country to country (Peru good, Guatemala bad), but you not only get that pesky travel over when you’re in the land of nod (or dosed up on sleeping tablets), but you also save a night’s accommodation.
Unable to check into my room in the delightful Posada del Abuelito – still one of the best hostels stayed at on my trip – until 2pm, I decided to walk up to the renowned Saint Ignatious Church, famous for it’s spectacular views over town. Now those who know me know I’m not exercise’s biggest fan. So walking up the 827348 stairs (may be an exaggeration), in jeans, in the heat of the morning, after about 2 hours sleep (I don’t sleep well on transport) probably wasn’t my brightest idea. BUT boy was it worth it!
San Cristobal itself is so gorgeous. I really connected with the town. Everyone is super laid back, the markets bustle with colour and excitement, and I loved that the local indigenous community, in their incredible traditional dress, interacted seamlessly within the village.
Within town there is an abundance of great food, shops and markets (for the best souvenirs in Mexico) and museum after museum. Guadalupe Street is the main pedestrian thoroughfare, where you can find organic cafes, authentic and “tourist authentic” Mexican food, and many more delicious delicacies. If I’d had money to spend on nice food, a restaurant called La Luna caught my eye, with incredible looking ceviche on offer.
And if you’re lucky, you can be there for a Miss Mexico pageant in the town square, just like I was!
Inspired by my friend Alex who is a massive fan of the stone amber, I explored the Amber museum, which included some incredible fossilised stones from some period, long long ago.
Day trips are also popular, with opportunities to explore the local indigenous communities for weaving or chocolate making classes, tour the silver mines or the grand CANYON TOUR!
Not quite sure what I thought I was in for (maybe some thrilling rapids or soaring cliffs with giant crocodiles) but a chock-full boat of tourists putting down a river through canyons wasn’t quite it. Trying to keep the life jacket on my British companions was probably the highlight of the excursion, but hey, got us out of the house!
Should you find yourself in western Mexico area, make sure you visit this gorgeous, quaint little town; you’ll feel that little bit richer doing so.
Do/See: St Ignatious Church
Canyon Tour (at your own risk)
Local Village Tour
Eat: La Luna
Mango – bought in cups from the street, sprinkled with chilli and lime. Divine
Stay: Posada del Abuelito