I completed a hat trick of “San Cristobals” when I took my backpack to the cool city of San Cristobal de las Casas recently. I’d already visited San Cristobal in Bolivia in 2010 and the one in venomous Venezuela in 2011. But the Mexican city of the same name knocked the previous brace into touch.
An easy to negotiate maze of colourful colonial streets and more churches than can be counted make this spot one to cherish and confide your love to. We lingered for Cinqo Dias in the end, roped in by SCDLC’s magnetic charms. We banged our way through these ten things in the city as well as side trips to Palenque, Agua Azul and Misol Ha and we had a night of pure luxury in the Hotel Villas Casa Morada.
1. Iglesia de Guadeloupe.
Whoever designed churches in San Cristobal had taste. Not just for the buildings themselves, but the views. A 15 minute walk away from the city centre along the popular Real Guadeloupe and you can climb up the steps to this pretty church. Marvel at the views and pop inside.
2. Iglesia de San Cristobal.
The second church in my top 10 is the Iglesia de San Cristobal. This is also up a hill and makes a pleasant walk again for 15-20 minutes up from the city centre. You are again rewarded with a pretty church and great views of the city. If you want to cheat, you can actually drive up to this one as there’s a road up front. But I was happy with the walk.
3. Templo y Ex Convento de Santo Domingo
While the first two churches I mentioned are cool and offer great views, the 16th Century church of Santo Domingo is the most striking. It has great artistic design on the front including a double headed Hapsburg eagle which pre-dates Mexico’s existence and is from Spanish colonial times.
Let’s not just mention those three churches without giving the main cathedral some spotlight – this building is also awesome!!
5. Mercado Municipal
The main market is manic, smelly and busy. Well worth a look around and if you want some cheap food, drink etc. this is the place.
6. Plaza 31 de Marzo
As ridiculous as it sounds, I always make a point of visiting “central squares” in most cities and towns I’m in, even if there is nothing there except a square! However there are some market stalls and decent bars and restaurants in and around Plaza 31 de Marzo which is where some couples also hang out and take photos. As well as the Central Cathedral here, there is also the famous Hotel Santa Clara, old school building if the hotel itself seems beyond the budget.
7. Real de Guadeloupe
This is a long pedestrian street which is one of the cool streets to wine and dine on. Its includes the Plaza Real Restaurante, Tierradentro, Nachos Beer, a London Pub and a load of other local and international bars and restaurants. Really lively from sunset onwards.
8. Templo el Cerrillo
Yet another cool church to admire in a pretty square is the Templo el Cerrillo.
9. Plaza Real Restaurante
I took my girlfriend to Plaza Real Restaurante for her birthday treat and it was simply the best food in San Cristobal de las Casas. Check out my full article on the meal we had there Panny’s Birthday Dinner.
Yes food features again and the food in Tierradentro is also stunning. It’s situated on Real Guadeloupe as well.
Here are some of my videos from San Cristobal de las Casas when I was backpacking in Mexico. I completely recommend this cool city – we spent 5 nights here in total!