Difference between revisions of "San Cristobal de las Casas"
Revision as of 00:08, 21 September 2009
The express bus system for getting around Mexico is advanced. The buses are generally comfortable and clean and there are multiple lines to choose from in a user-friendly way with professional and helpful ticket clerks at most main stations. The roads to San Cristobal are winding and can be dizzying so some choose the option to take a bus and let a professional driver do the work. You can see the beautiful greenery of Chiapas all around you on the trip through the big bus windows, or pull the curtain to nap.
As of spring of 2006, there is a "new" road to San Cristóbal and it takes about 35 minutes to get from Tuxtla Gutierrez to San Cristóbal and is not so vertiginous as the old road. There is also a new airport that is one hour 15 minutes from San Cristóbal and as of fall, 2007, the fare for a taxi is 600 pesos per taxi to San Cristóbal and 200 pesos to Tuxtla Gutierrez, or a shuttle service offering door-to-door service for 170 pesos to/from San Cristobal. From Tuxtla one can take an "Omnibus" that leaves every 20 minutes to San Cristóbal for about 40 pesos. There are many other public transportation modes from Tuxtla to San Cristóbal: taxi colectivo, autobus, and collective suburbans. The taxi drivers all know where these are located.
San Cristobal de las Casas is a beautiful city. If you are reasonably mobile you should be able to walk anywhere within the city without strain. Rent-a-Bikes are also a good way to get around if you have a very "adventurous" side!!!
If you rather make your own plans and travel a bit off the beaten track, rent a car with driver. Check it out at: http://san-cristobal-de-las-casas-car-rental-with-driver.com
Stroll around town, enjoy the environment, lovely buildings, café, restaurants, churches and squares.
After the Zapatist movement came out of the jungle in 1994 a great load of NGOs came over to San Cristobal. Nowadays you can find lots of interesting projects in any field really. The list of NGOs working in San Cristóbal and its surroundings is quite long.
People should be aware of cultural issues in this region. While San Cristobal has done a great job of cleaning up, there is real destitute poverty just around the corner if you scratch the surface. The native people suffer a lot so please respect them and treat them with kindness when you come into contact. Also, the Zapatista communities are sick and tired of the "hand out" mentality of a lot of NGOs. If you want to do something with the Zapatistas, do it on their terms. Ask questions, do not tell anything. They have a lot more to teach you than you do them.
San Cristobal is also a popular destination for travelers who want to learn Spanish.
Perfidia has bocadillos to share, from empanadas and enmoladas, to the famous hamburgers and salads with locally made jamón serrano and regional cheeses.
On and around the main square there are many sit-down restaurants. Also, you can find cheaper food at the local street vendors (found anywhere there are tourist attraction).
There are various vegetarian restaurants in town. One of them is in the pedestrian zone north of the plaza and it's called Naturalissimo.
Go to the main public market and eat tamales for breakfast. Another local specialty is "sopa del pan" which you will probably not find in any restaurant catering to tourists. You will find it in the comedors int he market. That is the best food in town.
On Saturdays many houses sell tamales out their front door. Look for the red lights. On any given evening there are places where people make antojitos on the street in front of their houses. This is real local food.
At certain times of the year different exotic insects are consumed in different ways. Pay attention in the market and you might have the chance to try something really exotic.
A lunch time bargain is in the different cantinas. These are family places and I am not telling where any of them are, you will have to figure that out on your own... order a beer and you will get a little plate of food to go with it.. house choice. Its cheap and excellent, though, you might get drunk in the process.
Most all restaurants serve filtered water. The local drink here is "posh" or pox. It is a hard liquor made from cane and has been used traditionally for healing and partying. It is frequently served in ponche -- a pineapple or fruit hot punch with a special bread broken into it.
Also nightly there are many bars with music on the same street; La Revolución (or El Revo), El Circo etc. On Insurgentes, not far from the wonderful restaurant, Madre Tierra, there is a jazz club, Dada that presents very good music. Most of the music is performed by local musicians in the clubs and restaurants. On the corner of the zócalo in the Santa Clara Hotel/bar there is music in the evenings.
San Cristobal is considered by some to be the backpackers hub in Chiapas. Some accommodation should be found for around 50P/5USD. There are signs on buildings advertising rooms for that amount, though they may have common bathrooms. One particular backpackers´ hostel worth trying is 'La Casa de Jose', with rooms available for $5 and amenities such as cable TV, free internet and a kitchen. Very nice hotels such as Hotel Real del Valle on Guadalupe just off the main square may be had for 200P/20USD.
San Cristobal de las Casas offers a wide variety of Spanish schools to choose from.
No reason not to take an express bus to where you want to go.
A tour to two of the local indigenous villages, San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan is found at 9:30AM at the plaza in front of the cathedral, next to the Zocalo. Alex and Raul are always there and everyone who appears is accommodated. They speak many languages and this visit really needs a guide, so you understand the very strange things you will observe. They supply transportation and entrance fees. The tour returns around 2:30PM (lunch time in Mexico). In the spring of 2007, this tour cost 180 pesos ($16 US).
Do not bring your camera to Chamula or any other village. Villagers have been pillaged by photographers over the years and it can be dangerous to whip out your camera. I have seen foreigners end up in jail in different communities for taking photos. Rumor has it some Germans were killed in Chamula for taking photos inside the church. Don't be an ass when you visit Chamula. These people do not exist for your tourist pleasure. Their lives are not simple and easy and they are not quaint and noble savages. Leave them in peace and tred lightly when you visit.
Laguna Miramar - Visit one of the most beautiful lakes in the Lacantun Jungle in the south of Chiapas.
Visiting Laguna Miramar requires planning and organization. It is inside Zapatista territory. Do not attempt to go there without a guide. Do bring everything you will need, there is nothing to buy there. Do not leave garbage behind or I will personally find you wherever you are in the world and kick your ass.
If you get sick while traveling in San Cristobal
Most people that travel to San Cristóbal never have a need to seek medical attention. But accidents can happen and people do get sick. If you do fall ill or hurt, San Cristóbal has good doctors, dentists and hospitals who will be capable of treating you. Doctors Local English-speaking doctors can be recommended by a good hotel. Most of the higher-quality hotels that cater for foreign visitors have a doctor on call at all times. Ask at reception. If you are not in your hotel contact doctor Sevilla. 967+678-1626