If you’re planning on traveling to Chiapas, Mexico, make sure San Cristobal de las Casas is on your list. This is the perfect place to start if you want to explore this spectacular state further. Discover this city and the locations surrounding this amazing mountain spot.
Walking City Tour
San Cristobal is a lovely town filled with culture, pastel dwellings, and cobblestone streets that make it pedestrian-friendly. At first glance, you will find this town has a European feel mixed with a Mexican flair. Located 2200 meters above sea level, San Cristobal is nestled inside a valley which makes its weather quite cool, even during the summer. You can do a walking tour to admire the picturesque houses with wrought-iron balconies and explore local businesses and hidden treasures. Usually, the tours last around 3 hours and will cover many interesting sites and the vibrant local Artisan markets. San Cristobal is famous for its local art scene, so check the work from local artists. If walking is not for you, you can take El Coleto, an antique-looking wooden streetcar that offers guided tours in English.
Cathedral and Other Churches
San Cristobal’s history and heritage are well preserved in its stunning temples. The Cathedral is a colonial building with baroque-style architecture that dates back to the 17th century. Overlooking the main plaza downtown, you can visit its interior and admire well-preserved art pieces, the altar of the kings, and many other paintings and artifacts with religious themes. Another notable church is the exquisite Templo de Santo Domingo, with a pink façade; this church and former convent from the 1700s is simply the most beautiful in the city. Be sure to visit the Iglesia de Guadalupe, on top of the hill and surrounded by a small plaza. Climb the 79 steps of this church built in 1834, and you will be rewarded with an unparalleled panoramic view of the city.
San Juan Chamula
Located six miles from San Cristobal is the indigenous town of San Juan Chamula. This is an experience unlike any other in Mexico. Be ready to get your mind blown when entering the San Juan church. You would think this is your usual Mexican church from the outside, but you will discover a different world once inside. You are not permitted to take photographs or record any of the ceremonies inside. At first sight, you will find there are no pews in this church, and the local churchgoers sit on the floor where there are pine needles spread all over. There are glass boxes with statues of saints, hundreds of candles, and mirrors to deflect evil spirits. You can experience the rituals and chants, which are happening at all times. This is a different spectacle that you have to experience for yourself and be respectful of the rules.
The Waterfalls at El Chiflon
El Chiflon is the perfect trip for nature lovers because these waterfalls are one of the most beautiful places to visit in Mexico. One of the most astonishing waterfalls in Chiapas is 400 feet in height and spread out in tiers. These tiers give rise to three waterfalls that are: El Suspiro (The Sigh), Ala de Angel (Angel Wing), and Velo de Novia (Bride’s Veil); this last one reaches a height of 230 feet. You will be able to swim in the natural swimming pools with turquoise-colored water, engulfed in the most majestic vegetation that surrounds the area with beautiful trees, palms, and breathtaking landscapes.
Sumidero Canyon Day Trip
The day trip to the Sumidero Canyon is one you will enjoy and remember. This canyon formation began about 35 million years ago by cracks in the earth’s crust with erosion from the Grijalva River. It is a 3 hour round trip on a boat that will take you on a spectacular journey through the canyon with walls towering 2,500 feet. You will not believe your eyes when you see the wildlife right there on display; it is simply spectacular. From herons, egrets, vultures, kingfishers, and crocodiles, which also live on the river, you will admire these incredible creatures at a close distance. This is a top-rated tour and sells out fast; try booking ahead of time, especially if you require an English-speaking guide.
If you are looking for a cultural experience filled with art, tradition, nature, and color, then there are so many amazing things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas that you’re going to find it hard to leave.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com