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This Lesser-Known Town Was Just Named The Best Budget Destination In Mexico

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Be it the awe-worthy landscapes, rich cultural allure, or bright, colorful cuisine, Mexico has captured the heart of American travelers in a way no other country has, slowly but surely establishing itself as North America’s undisputed top international destination.

aerial view of San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

However, as millions flock to the idyllic Mexican shores, finding a place that has yet to be affected by mass tourism and the remarkable price increases that come along with it has become more difficult than ever.

Luckily for those looking to indulge in a sunny escape this winter without having to break the bank in the process, there are still a few dreamy towns scattered across Mexico that promise the same exhilarating experience at a fraction of the price.

San Cristobal de Las Casas, in particular, is not to be missed.

main square in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

Mind-Blowing Prices

While there’s been a lot of talk about budget-friendly destinations these past months, few of the places you’ve seen mentioned in online articles and news outlets actually compare to San Cristobal de Las Casas, whose prices are nothing short of mind-blowing.

Though reports show that accommodation costs in the area start at $3 a night, more realistically, you’ll be looking at anywhere between $15 and $35, which is still exceptional considering the views, culture, and warm atmosphere you’ll be getting in return.

pedestrian street in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

While there are a few higher-end options available, too, the town's commitment to preserving its colonial charm means that even budget accommodations often feature authentic architecture and a unique character that’ll add an extra layer of appeal to your stay. 

Food in San Cristobal de Las Casas is arguably even cheaper, with local eateries and street vendors selling mouthwatering dishes at unbelievable prices – tacos, tamales, hearty traditional stews, and everything in between will only set you back $2 – $5.

Sit-down restaurants are pretty reasonable, too, with meals averaging $10-$20. 

So, foodies looking to indulge in some truly authentic Mexican dishes on a budget will find San Cristobal de Las Casas to be their haven.

traditional desserts in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico

Once you’ve satisfied your cravings, you can always explore the local museums, historical sites, and natural attractions (more on these below), most of which are either free or charge entrance fees that range between $1 and $5.

Unparalleled Historical Allure

San Cristobal de Las Casas’ efforts in preserving its stunning colonial architecture have obviously paid off – now, lucky travelers get to marvel at the centuries-old, yellow San Cristóbal Cathedral and the iconic Los Altos Museum.

The latter is located in the baroque former Santo Domingo de Guzmán convent, and just outside the building, you’ll find a gorgeous local market where you can buy colorful weavings and other hand-made goods that you’ll love for years to come.

Wandering through the streets of San Cristobal will truly feel like you’re stepping back in time.

San Cristobal street

The town's historic center and the Havana Cathedral, in particular, are not to be missed.

So Much Culture To Take In

San Cristobal de las Casas is not merely a sightseeing playground for architecture enthusiasts; it's a destination with a rich cultural tapestry just waiting to be experienced. 

The town's markets, including the Santo Domingo Market and the Mercado de Dulces y Artesanías, create the type of authentic atmosphere and vibrant local spirit that’s been lost in larger hubs.

Street Food Market in San Cristobal De Las Casas, Mexico

Here, take the time to engage with local artisans and vendors for an even deeper insight into what makes the small town so fascinating beyond its pretty buildings. 

While at it, buy one of the hand-made goods – not only are they remarkable in terms of looks and quality, but they’re pretty affordable, too. 

If your schedule allows for it, I’d highly recommend timing your visit to coincide with one of the many local festivals and celebrations, of which, the Feria de la Primavera y de la Paz and the Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo are among the liveliest.

Natural Wonders

Beyond its cultural and historical wonders, San Cristobal de las Casas is surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes that cater to nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Sumidero Canyon

A short drive from San Cristobal, you’ll find Sumidero Canyon, a dramatic landscape complete with towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and the Grijalva River winding through its depths. 

Once there, you’ll want to take a boat tour for the opportunity to not only indulge in the breathtaking views but also admire the local wildlife.

cascadas de agua azul

Other natural wonders to add to your San Cristobal de las Casas itinerary include the Montebello lakes, El Chiflón Waterfalls, and Cascadas de Agua Azul.

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