San Cristobal de las Casas

Published: August 12th 2010
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San Cristobal de las Casas is an old colonial town nestled in the mountains of the state of Chiapas. The Maya, who are descended from an ancient and indigenious civilization, have a strong presence here. It is a market town where many indigenous people come from their villages to sell their wares. Sharon is not always keen on pottering around the narrow markets but although they can be a bit chaotic and strange smelling, we saw some absolutely amazing handmade crafts.

Most of our time in San Cristobal was spent within a ½hr walking radius of our hotel. My need to flee to the throne was affecting my desire to explore this beautiful town. However, my desire for a hot water bottle and a good chick flick increased with every bout of stomach cramps! Maybe swapping books with Sharon was a bad idea, a Stieg Larsson thriller for Sophie Kinsella 😱

Indigenous Mexicans on the whole are not very tall. The average height would be less than 5ft but the average curb height is about 1.5ft, what’s that about? They hop up and down with no problems whereas I feel like an old man doing a step class! Talking of steps, we did venture up to Templo de San Cristobal, which is situated up a small hill overlooking the town. It had lovely views and was worth the climb but it was very knackering. Our illness and lack of exercise, combined with the high altitude (2,120m) made this climb of 280 ish steps ridiculously hard! As if to rub it in, we found a little circuit of exercise machines at the top! Of course we just collapsed on the sit-up machine to recover!

The two words you will repeat the most in San Cristobal are ‘No Gracias’, the street vendors are everywhere and they will find you 😊 You can be in the back of a darkly lit restaurant enjoying a meal then out of nowhere a whole family will turn up laden down with goods they want you to buy. Each family member from grandma to toddler, will queue up to hear our ‘no gracias’. They must sell something occasionally but I never saw anyone buying goods this way - you have to feel for them.

We risked a day trip: a boat ride through the spectacular Sumidero Canyon (230MXN each), thankfully, my body behaved itself! It was an amazing 2 hour ride down the mighty Rio Grijalva which took us past towering granite walls, lush mountainside forests and wonderful waterfalls. Luckily, we managed to get a front seat so we had a great view of the various wildlife in it’s natural habitat including Morely crocodiles and Spider monkeys!

Thanks for the comments guys, it's good to know people are following our blog. Next stop is Palenque, the ancient Mayan ruins.

**Traveller info:
We stayed at the La Noria Hotel - (600MXN p/n): big clean room and wonderful pillows but can be noisy due to internal windows!
Las Nubes - Calle Niños Héroes #2a - A popular restaurant with great food/coffee/free wi-fi

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13th August 2010

hello chad and sharon so pleasedyou are both in to keepfit , all those steps,better than step class enjoy nan xxxxxx
15th August 2010

Not sure what made me suddenly decide to have a look at this but glad I did. Its nice to see where you are now and the photos are all off places we went to back in 1998. I miss Central America :( All looks like great fun. See you in the not to distant Nick

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