23 Jan Chiapas: San Cristóbal de las Casas
Apologies for the delay of my post about our next stop: San Cristóbal de las Casas! Also located in the beautiful state Chiapas, of course. We continued our trip from Palenque on to this city more in the south. We read in our Lonely Planet about the bus trip that was recommended to NOT do in the night, because there had been a few reports on robbing and hijacking.. hmm.. little did we know at first! But, unfortunately, we had already booked our tickets and planned the trip in this specific way in order to save money on accommodation. I got a little scared, because I KNEW this and I forgot about it! But we just took the plunge and prayed that we would be safe 🙂
This was our view on 6am in the morning, on our way to San Cristóbal. Hilde woke me up to see the view, and I was glad she did. It was so beautiful!!
This was one of the first views we saw when we arrived. We arrived at 7am at the ADO busstation and first checked our phones and let some people know that we had arrived. In the background, you can see the mountains, as it is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains.
The night before, we booked a night in a hostel at Hostelworld.com, called Planet Hostel. So when we got to San Cristóbal, we did not have to look for any. We went to a breakfast place first, had some coffee and toast with marmelade, and then went to the hostel.
After a few hours, we walked to the main street with the nice shops and restaurants, called Guadalupe, and stood upon this super cute place with many vegetarian dishes, fresh pressed juices and croissants. I took a croissant with cheese, Hilde and Lisse a burrito with vegetables. It was very delicious!
After lunch, we walked to the Templo Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo de Guzmán (what a name!) on a square, and we saw this small handicraft market. We ended up staying here for almost two hours I think, and bought lotsssss of jewelry as presents for friends and ourselves 🙂
This was the Catedral de San Cristóbal de las Casas. It is constructed around 1530, and located on the main square. The plaza in front of the cathedral is always full of people and apparently a representative of the city.
After 240 stairs up a small hill, we got this view over the whole city. This is one of the ‘miradors’, which means it is a lookout place. It was pretttty hot that day, but in the end it was worth the walk. So beautiful!
From our view, we saw a blue church in the distance. So when we walked down the stairs, we decided to take a look there. It was strange to see hahah but also very special. It keeps surprising me how many interesting churches and convents Mexico has. We also bought some roasted corn (elotes) and fruit from this lady.
In the evening, Lis got a little sick and decided to stay at home. Hilde and I on the other hand, were very hungry. We went to the same street (Guadalupe) to look for a restaurant, and decided to pick the one with veggie-burgers.
The next day, together with our hostel friend, we went to another small town very nearby: San Juan Chamula. This is a very special place, with a whole other community. It was also mentioned in our Lonely Planet. We read that from the 30th of December till the 1st of January, there is a change of leaders going on, and therefore a festival that celebrates it. We thought it would be nice to check out what was going on in this indigenous town. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures, but here were a few I was able to make; of the town’s church.
The Tzotzil Maya community lives here, one of the largest indigenous groups in Chiapas. They can be identified by the traditional dresses they wear, even the men. They wear black or white wool tunics (called chujes). The women and kids wear those as well, but also embroidered huipils (the traditional blouses), and long black skirts. Therefore we saw a lot of shops with artisan clothing, very traditional and also very beautiful! I bought an off-white woolen tunic/poncho to take home with me in order to be prepared for the cold (-3 at the moment).
I think it was very special to see this population, and the ritual that was going on in the church. It was a mass with thousands of candles and beautiful statues of former leaders. The people were all dressed up in the traditional clothing, and with feathers and ribbons braided in their long hair, all for this occasion.
This was kind-of-it for the San Cristóbal de las Casas trip! We just really liked to check out the churches, convents, markets, and wander around. We also wanted to go to a coffee museum, but it was closed, or anyway, maybe because of the siësta.
And ready to go alllll the way back to Cancún! We wanted to be back in the city for New Years Eve, so went back with the ADO (another 20 hours!)
On our way back, only beautiful views.. and sunset 🙂
Ready to celebrate New Years Eve! We decided to go to Tulum after all and we had the best night! It was lots of fun and we celebrated at the Papaya Playa Project (of course :D)