Difference between revisions of "San Cristobal de las Casas"
Revision as of 21:16, 4 June 2008
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 you may want to take the 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 surburbans. 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!!!
The Maya Medicine Museum is not to be missed. They have "tours" (on site) in English and Spanish and also have healers on site to treat whatever ailment you may suffer. Good views of the city and surrounding mountains can be had from the church on a hill in the west of town.
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.
San Cristobal is also a popular destination for travelers who want to learn Spanish.
BuyBuy colorful handicrafts in the market.
To get your quality leather products (bags, purses, rucksacks, belts) custom made, go to Talabartería Ballinas where Vicente Hernández will excerise his excellent handicraft skills for you. Av. Presidente Portes Gil # 8 A, Col. Revolución Méxicana (from the centre take Flavio Paniagua East and turn left (North) along Huixtla and it's several blocks on, on the left hand side). Tel (67) 8 95 42.
Near the crafts market there is a handy crafts cooperative with authentic goods from the surrounding villages. The prices are a good deal more expensive, but you'll be getting the real hand made goods.
East of the Parque Central, following the Real de Guadalupe, is a complex called Tierra Adentro  which sells Handicrafts, T/shirts, Posters etc. in a cooperative which helps the autonomouse communities of the Zapatista movement.
Organic Products are available in Tierra Verde 2.5 blocks east of the Parque following the Real de Guadalupe
The word is out in San Cristóbal that the bar Perfida has the best food for your money. You can share bocadillos with your friends, from empanadas and enmoladas, to the famous hamburgers and salads with locally made jamón serrano and regional cheeses. All the dishes are beautifully decorated.
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 variouse vegetarian restaurants in town. One of them is in the pedestrian zone north of the plaza and its called Naturlissimo.
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.
The bar Perfidia (on Maria Adelina Flores and Cristobal Colon, 3 blocks from the cathedral) is a good space to relax and listen to great music, get the party started with a few tequilas, mojitos, or other cocktails, or visit a local art exhibition with a diverse mix of people who live in San Cristobal. It's the best spot for tourists to really interact with locals and the many people from all over the world who have come to San Cristobal and decided to stay. The bar occupies a beautiful old house, which is registered as a historical landmark, with three different rooms, each with a different feel and decorated with elaborate stencils by a local artist, and a garden patio (which is beautiful at night). Perfidia has many great specials, including pitchers of Mexican beer for only 50 pesos and 2-for-1 drink specials until 9 o'clock, way past normal happy hour, free live music and exhibitions, and very cheap, gourmet Mexican bocadillos (snacks). In April 2008, Perfidia will start salsa lessons with a very popular teacher (from when the space used to be called La Pera). And on May 31, 2008, Perfidia will feature the gallery opening "Intercambio Frontal: Tijuas-San Cris," a dialogue through installation art, photography, painting, and stencil between the Tijuana artist Alejandro Zacarías and San Cristobal artist Luther Blissett.
There is music nightly in La Paloma restaurant on the walking street -- this a a nice place for the older set especially. 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. El Jardín de Coba has very tasty French food and a nice atmosphere. Most of the music is performed by local musicians in the clubs and restaurants. On the corner of the zocalo in the Santa Clara Hotel/bar there is music in the evenings.
There is a drum and brass band and singers who perform patriotic melodies at 8 AM Mondays at the main square. Musicians may be found at the square evenings as well.
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.
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).
Laguna Miramar - Visit one of the most beautiful lakes in the Lacontun Jungle in the south of Chiapas.