Magical Towns: San Cristobal de las Casas

In Chiapas, Magical Towns by Suzanne Koch

Bordering Guatemala is the southern Mexico state of Chiapas where San Cristobal de las Casas is located, a magical town of coffee and history. Perfect for nature lovers, the gorgeous, green state of Chiapas surrounds San Cristobal that sits 7,200 feet above sea level and is full of red-tiled roofs, cobblestone streets and a relaxed, bohemian ambiance. As one of Mexico’s best preserved Spanish colonial towns, San Cristobal is the top destination in Chiapas, which happens to be a major coffee-growing region. Java lovers will find plenty to enjoy in this town like the popular coffee route where travelers can visit many different plantations where coffee is produced. Learn the process of making coffee, taste a variety of flavors and even stay the night; many plantations work double-duty as hotels to provide a full experience for guests. Another popular stop for the caffeinated visitor is Café Museo Café, a museum and café that documents the history of coffee in Chiapas and offers an array of tastings of locally produced organic Chiapas brews.

San Cristobal de las Casas Cathedral
Cathedral of San Cristobal

In the heart of the magical town is Plaza 31 de Marzo, the town’s main square where the Cathedral of San Cristobal is located. Visit before sunset to find the church illuminated in a late-afternoon glow. The church also provides one of the best lookout points where views of the town, mountainside and countryside can be seen. Just five blocks north of the city’s main square is Santo Domingo Church (cover photo) which is considered to be one of San Cristobal’s most beautiful churches with its stunning baroque architecture. Another popular sight to see is the Museo Na-Bolom which means “House of Jaguar.” The museum was once home to Frans Blom, a Danish archaeologist, and Swiss photographer Gertrude Duby-Blom, until their passing. The hacienda has since then been restored and is now a museum, hotel and research center. The museum is full of the local culture, traditions and history.

One beautiful hotel, though pricier, is Hotel Bo, a modern and stylish hotel next to San Cristobal Church. The colonial-style boutique offerings at Guayaba Inn are also a popular choice among visitors.

Restaurant LUM
Restaurant LUM

The highlands of Chiapas grow mangos, avocadoes, tomatoes and an assortment of chilies, so the cuisine often incorporates these ingredients. Find lots of these flavors at Restaurant LUM (located at Hotel Bo), where a contemporary, upscale atmosphere tops off the experience. For variety, try No Name Quesadillas, whose menu of quesadillas changes daily and often includes unique ingredients. While in San Cristobal, make sure to find pox (pronounced ‘posh’), a local sugarcane spirit that sometimes comes in a variety of flavors like hibiscus and basil and is worth every sip.

For more to see, do and experience, visit:

Share this article