The capital of Chiapas is the beautiful colonial town of San Cristobal. Famous for its coffee and chocolate, there are plenty of cafes to relax the day away, fabulous food, craft markets and there are plenty of cafes to relax the day away, fabulous food, craft markets and plenty of culture and natural sites close by.
A day trip to Chamula’s church is an interesting insight into the local culture. Men and women in traditional sheepskin dress pass through the large square to reach the pretty green and white Church. Here, religion is a blend of pre-colonial Mayan spirituality and Christianity. Statues of all the Saints line the walls of the church and grass covers much of the floor along with candles. Local people gather is small groups to receive healing from medicine men who work to expel evil spirits. Sometimes chickens are sacrificed in the church – fortunately non were executed on the day we visited. Collectivos run regularly from San Cristobal.
The villages of the fiercely independent Zapatistas are within a few hours drive of San Cristobal. It is possible to visit these villages but it is not overly welcomed by the local community. They will allocated a local escort on your arrival and photography is prohibited.
Sumidero Canyon is also close by. With soaring cliffs that ascend sharply from the canyon floor, crocodiles lining the banks and Iguanas in the trees, this is in many ways incredibly stunning. But it is also a dumping ground for rubbish which is very evident by the large sections of the canyon covered with floating rubbish. It seems crazy that despite the huge economic and environmental value of this canyon, proper rubbish collection has not been addressed.
Hostel: Los Iguanas Tour operator: you can book the canyon trip through Los Iguanas but it is more expensive and only Spanish speakers are available.
Some operators charge the price of a seat to transport surfboards when crossing into Guatemala. Shop around to avoid these undisclosed charges.