San Cristobal de las Casas

Bike Trip Chetumal 102Some friends I met in Mazatlan who have been on the road for 7 years on their bikes, gave me a short list of their faves for Mexico and Central America. At first they were pretty insistent that they wouldn’t name any “must see” places as they didn’t want to change my experience or influence it in any way. They wanted it to unfold on its own. Interesting idea, and I respected that. But thankfully they did spill a few names here and there and Trish wrote up a short list of tips for places we may come across.
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She mentioned that San Cristobal de las Casas was a lovely little mountain town on the eastern side of Mexico. I hadn’t heard of it back then, but started hearing the name from other travelers the further east I rode into Mexico. The ride up to it from the southern Pacific shore was beautiful. I rode through valleys and miles and miles of mango orchards before starting the climb up the last 100 miles or so to San Cristobal. The center of the town is made up of long rows of buildings standing shoulder to shoulder. Most are now filled with cute boutique shops, cafes, bars and trendy businesses.
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There are churches, cathedrals, and squares. The plaza has live music one evening.
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There are massage therapists, reiki specialists, organic bakeries, and English pubs. We eat one night at a Cuban bar while Real Madrid plays Barcelona on tv, and the next night at a Lebanese place with our friends from Switzerland. That’s what San Cristobal is like, a crossroads of international travelers and cultures. It’s a great place to shop, both in the small stores and on the street. There are dozens of local women from indigenous tribes selling their handmade crafts on the cobblestoned streets each day. Their children help them in the evenings too.
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Their clothes are beautiful, a mix of embroidered cloth, woven belts and black woolen skirts.
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I buy a few things to send home to friends and family and spend a morning at the post office. Brian sadly has to spend a hot afternoon in a gravel parking lot repairing a flat tire I got while coming down a cobblestoned street here in town the afternoon we rode in. Thankfully there are plenty of places to enjoy a cold beer afterwards.
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