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Sections of San Cristobal de las Casas

San Cristobal de las Casas is located in the central region in the state of Chiapas, 85 km (53 mi) east of Tuxtla Gutierrez, the state capital. The climate is temperate and humid, with rainfall in the summer and an average year-round temperature of 15º C (59º F).

In this city, which has one of Mexico’s most beautiful urban designs, you can discover impressive religious edifices like the Cathedral or the Temple of Santo Domingo. These buildings were restored using a combination of profuse baroque-style details and local architectural elements, which perpetuate the cultural heritage of ethnic groups that live in the surrounding areas, such as the Tzotziles, Tzeltales and the Lacandons.

During your stay, you’ll also see exotic collections of crafts, objects of everyday use and pre-Hispanic pieces housed in anthropological and philanthropic institutions such as the Museo Na Bolom or the Centro Cultural de los Altos de Chiapas. In the city’s environs, you can experience a magical atmosphere in towns like San Juan Chamula, which hosts one of the most colorful and celebrated carnivals in the state. From there, you can head out to areas that are rich in natural resources, such as the Huitepec Ecological Reserve, where you can truly appreciate the region’s biodiversity. There’s also El Arcotete, where you can go rappelling down 30-meter (100-foot) cliffs.

Parador San Juan de Dios
A beautiful Parador with 12 suites -
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Hotel Posada Real de Chiapas
A charming hotel with 32 rooms paying tribute to the textiles of Chiapas -
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Hotel Plaza Magnolias
A charming, colonial style hotel with 66 rooms - Read more

Hotel - Museum Casa Na Bolom
16 rooms in a fascinating cultural foundation and museum dedicated to assisting and protecting the Lacandon people
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Hotel Casa Felipe Flores
An unique bed and breakfast with five beautiful rooms - Read more

Near San Cristobal de las Casas you will find one of the most important and best-preserved Mayan archaeological zones. It is reached by the Palenque-Ocosingo road, then continuing on a paved road for 11 km (7 miles) up to the site. Tonina means "House of Big Stones." It was a ceremonial center of the Mayan culture and reached its peak between the years 600 to 900 A.D. During the late classic, it had great military importance, testified by the abundant representation of prisoners in stucco and stone relief. Its most important governor was Tzots Choj, "Bat-Tiger." The Acropolis was built over natural rises of the land at the base of which is located a large plaza with an adjoining ball court, several temples, altars and steles over seven platforms. Among the most important edifices are: El Palacio de las Grecas (Palace of the Fretworks), El Palacio de la Guerra (Palace of War), El Templo de los Prisioneros (Temple of Prisoners) and El Templo del Espejo Humeante (Temple of the Smoking Mirror). There is also the Mural of the Four Suns, an impressive stucco relief representing four distinct eras of history. The visit is completed with the fabulous site museum. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 5:00.

San Cristobal’s main religious celebrations take place during Holy Week, when you can witness the traditional Viacrucis procession and attend a fair held to mark the beginning of Easter. In November and December, the city hosts the Antorcha Guadalupana race, which draws young pilgrims who travel in groups to Mexico City, Oaxaca or Guatemala and then return to San Cristobal running with a lit torch to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe on Dec. 12. Another important festivity that takes place in San Cristobal’s surrounding areas is the Carnival of San Juan Chamula, which is held in February and March. During this celebration you’ll see parades, Mass ceremonies and cleansing rituals, such as people walking over hot coals.

  • January 1, New Year's Festivities, celebration of Masses, parades and fireworks.

  • Holy Week (March or April), processions, celebration of Masses throughout the state. In some towns, the Burning of Judas ritual takes place - represented by paper-maché figures and cartoons of historical or contemporary personalities.

  • Feria de la Primavera y de la Paz (Seven days after Sunday Easter), with different social and cultural events, parades and sport events.

  • July 17-25 celebration honoring the city's patron saint St. Christopher the Martyr with masses and parades.

  • September 16 is National Independence Day, celebrated with the Mayor presiding over the traditional ceremony of "El Grito" (the Shout for Independence).

  • November 1 and 2 are All Saints Day and Day of the Dead. Offerings are placed at the graves of the deceased to welcome and summon their souls, which are believed to return during these days. The offerings include traditional meals placed on altars inside the houses along with candles and flowers, or at the graves where families spend the day praying.

  • December 12 is the festival of the Patron Saint of all Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe celebrated with Mass, serenades and pilgrimages.

In San Cristobal you can try exquisite dishes of indigenous and Spanish influences. Among the regional fare you can enjoy are tamales with chipilin leaves, chalupas, chiles stuffed with pork or vegetables and the delicious asado chiapaneco (a roasted pork dish). You can also enjoy pork, beef and vegetable stews, bread soup, beef tongue in saffron and Soconusco-style chanfaina (lamb organs served with rice). To accompany your meal, order a refreshing glass of punch or a tascalate - a fermented corn beverage.

In San Cristobal de las Casas you can visit interesting museums where you’ll see exhibits of regional culture and history.

Mayan Medicine Museum: In 1997, the Museum of Mayan Medicine received the National Museum Prize “Miguel Covarrubias”, given by the National Institute of Anthropology and History. The Museum’s primary objective is spreading information about Tzotzil and Tzeltal curative practices on regional, national and international levels. The Museum consists of several museographic environments depicting the traditional Mayan practices and therapeutic resources of the indigenous physicians of Chiapas. The museum possesses six exhibit spaces and a demonstrative garden containing many important medicinal plants. If you have health problems, you may want to try the herbal pharmacy. Or, you may visit a traditional doctor (pulsador) in the church of the museum, who may diagnose your condition by reading your pulse, or perform a ritual to heal body and soul, using prayer or the temazcal (traditional steam bath). The Museum is open from Monday to Friday, from 10:00 to 18:00 and Saturday and Sunday: from 10:00 to 17:00. The Mayan Medicine Museum is located at the Center for the Development of Mayan Medicine (CEDEMM). For further information please visit:

Centro Cultural Museo de los Altos de Chiapas (The Cultural Center of the Highlands): Located in the old Convent of Santo Domingo, on Av. 20 de Noviembre. Inside the old Dominican convent is the Cultural Center of the Highlands; in it is a large room with depictions of the history of the city of San Cristobal, showing the main events through the years. Among its pieces are some silver petals from the pomegranate receptacle that held the Host at the cathedral, which was the most important silversmith work from Chiapas, and the bishop's cathedra, the main piece from the lost choir stalls of the cathedral. Here you can visit the Sna Jolobil (House of Weaving in the Tzotzil language) crafts store, showing textiles with pre-Colombian designs exemplifying the Mayan cosmological vision. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00.

Museo Na Bolom, Casa del Jaguar (Na-Bolom House of the Jaguar Museum): Located at 33 Av. Vicente Guerrero, on the corner of Calzada Frans Blom. This museum was founded by famed Danish anthropologist and philanthropist Frans Blom and his wife Gertrude Blom, who left behind a collection of archaeological pieces, crafts and regional Mayan objects. The house is decorated with regional crafts, exhibiting Mayan ceramics and everyday objects of the Lacandons (inhabitants of the Lacandon jungle) in one of its halls. Another hall is devoted to the archaeological zone of Moxviquil, and yet another displays traditional textiles. Also here is the "Fray Bartolome de las Casas" library with over 10,000 volumes on history, culture and regional anthropology. The museum has an archive of journals, an audio archive, a chapel with religious art and a temporary exhibition space. At the back of the house is a Botanical Garden. Open daily from 10:00 to 17:00.

Amber Museum: Housed in the old Convent de la Merced. The museum exhibits exceptional pieces of that resin from Mesozoic trees. This amber was extracted from mines within the state, which, along with those in the Dominican Republic, are the only sources in America. The Museum is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 17:00 to 20: 00 hours.

The House of Jade (La Casa del Jade): Located in the historic downtown district of in San Cristobal. It contains an archaeological exhibit of sculptures and other pieces from the Mocaya culture, which developed in Chiapas before the Olmecs or the Mayas. It also has an extensive end exquisite collection of unusually colored jade pieces, from white to the darkest almost black, passing through the shades of pinks and shades of purple. The House of Jade guarantees the authenticity of its products. The most spectacular exhibit of The House of Jade is the sepulcher of Pakal, the eleventh governor of Palenque. This mausoleum shows an excellent reproduction of the grave of this king, who was interred wearing a jade mask and other adornments under the Temple of the Inscriptions. The House of Jade is located on 16 de Septiembre Street. Guided tours are offered everyday at noon and at 21:00 hrs.

Centro Cultural del Carmen: Three blocks away from Plaza 31 de Mayo along Hidalgo Avenue, there is a series of old and new buildings that form this architectural unit. Among them are the Public Library, The Convention Center and the Arts Building.

Museo Sergio Castro e Hijos: Located at 47 Guadalupe Victoria Street. This museum has an extensive collection of objects and garments related to the textile works of the Tzotziles, Tojolabales and Lacandones. It also house old musical instruments. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00.

If you’d like to go shopping, we recommend that you visit the outdoor crafts and textile market next to the Cathedral, or the Casa de Artesanias on Av. Hidalgo. You can also visit the Jose Castillo Tielemans market, located on the corner of Av. General Utrilla and Diaz Ordaz. Other places to buy souvenirs are the pottery and basketwork shops that you’ll find on Real de Guadalupe Street.

In San Cristobal de las Casas you’ll find a special venue that stages numerous artistic and cultural events.

Centro de Convenciones El Carmen (Convention Center El Carmen): Located on the corner of Hermanos Dominguez and Miguel Hidalgo, in the downtown area. This is the most important cultural venue in the city. It can hold 1,000 spectators.

San Cristobal de las Casas is a quiet city, yet it has various places where you can enjoy a night out, including bohemian bars that receive visitors from all over the world. It also offers excellent discos, live music and restaurants serving local and international fare.

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Amatenango del Valle Chiapa de Corzo
Comitan de Dominguez Palenque
San Cristobal de las Casas San Juan Chamula
Selva Lacandona Tapachula
Tenejapa Tonala
Tuxtla Gutierrez Zinacantan
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Indian family in the Plaza - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Indigenous family
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Cathedral - Photo by Secretaria de Turismo de Chiapas
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Cathedral
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Parador San Juan de Dios, Terrace - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 1006
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Parador San Juan de Dios, Terrace
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Parador San Juan de Dios, Suite Jaime Sabines, Bed - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 1006
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Parador San Juan de Dios
Suite Jaime Sabines
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Hotel Posada Real de Chiapas, Patio - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 1006
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Hotel Posada Real de Chiapas, Patio
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Hotel Posada Real de Chiapas, Master Suite, bed - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 1006
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Hotel Posada Real de Chiapas, Master Suite
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Hotel Plaza Magnolias, New section, Room 1 - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 1006
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Hotel Plaza Magnolias
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Museum-Hotel Casa Na Bolom, Courtyard - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 1006
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Museum-Hotel Casa Na Bolom, Courtyard
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Hotel Casa Felipe Flores, Bedroom 1 - Photo by 0507
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Hotel Casa Felipe Flores
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Museum of Mayan Medicine, Church - Photo by German Murillo-Echavarria 1006
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Museum of Mayan Medicine, Church
Ç Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Andador Turistico 3 - Photo by 0507
  Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas, Andador Turistico

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