San Cristobal de las Casas: The Berlin of Central-Amerika

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After spending a lot of time at the beach in Mazunte it was time for some cooler air, so we made our way to San Cristobal de las Casa in Chiapas. And o my, we have no regrets spending two weeks in this beautiful artistic city. The whole city is filled with sweet little corners and beautiful churches. All cafes and restaurants have something unique, artistic and alternative. We straight away called it the Berlin of central America.

The city is located at an altitude of 2000 meters (6561 ft), so the temperature is very pleasant, usually around 22 degrees Celsius (71.6° Fahrenheit) during the day. At night it cools down to sometimes 6 degrees (42.8°F) or even lower which gave a nice opportunity to cuddle underneath the blankets. San Cristobal de las Casas is a city where many tourist came and decided never to leave. This means there is a beautiful mix of foreigners and indigenous people. It sometimes felt like they opened a can full of sweet and kind people and they spread it out throughout the city.

The only part which we did not like that much were the main tourist streets. Yes there are a few nice restaurants and it is still pretty quiet. However it did feel very touristy and with that you get the many sales people and beggars. Still a lot of people seem to like these more busy tourist streets so please check it out for yourself.

Where to eat

One of our favorite things to do was visiting all these amazing restaurants San Cristobal has to offer. All of these restaurants have great vegetarian or fish options.

Arcana Café Herbal Comida Vegana. This popular hangout serves the best vegan meals in town. Please be aware that it is super tiny. We arrived two times when it was full so you have to be lucky.

Satori Pizzeria. This is the best pizzeria in town. I actually had one of the best pizza's in my life here. The restaurant is very nicely designed and the staff is super sweet.

Frontera Artisan Food and Coffee. This cute little restaurant wins a price for the most laid back atmosphere. The coffee is really good and they have a great breakfast menu. We loved the chill atmosphere in the garden.

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Trattoria Catanzaro. If you want to eat Italian this is the best place to have an authentic Italian meal.

El Secreto. This was one of the best restaurants in town. It is not cheap, but it is definitely worth it. We loved everything about this place, also the staff was super cool.

Restaurant a la casa. We also discovered that we could order food at home from 151 restaurants. There is a nice website for it called sancristobalenlascasas.com. We used it a few times and every time they delivered within 40 minutes at our Airbnb.

Nice cafes

Even though we don't drink that much anymore we did find a few nice bars. You could for example go to Centro Cultural Nierika. They have nice Belgium beers here for a very affordable price. Also they have theater evenings and even a dub evening when we were there.

If you like good wine served with delicious tapas we recommend to go to Sagrado un Culto al Café. The owner is a great guy and he really knows how to spoil his guests. Also his music choice is excellent!

Where to practice yoga?

In every city we visit we check out a few yoga studio's. Here are our 2 favorites:

Ananda yoga center. A tiny yoga studio on the main street. We did two classes here and we liked it. Super friendly yoga teachers and a not very pretentious yoga school which we like.

Hridaya Family Meditation & Yoga Retreat Center. This center is a bit out of town and hosts silent meditation retreats. We went there for a sound healing. It is located on an amazing location and the family that runs it is incredible.

Markets and Art

They say the markets in San Cris are the best and cheapest place in Mexico to buy souvenirs. The Mercadode Artesanias de Santo Domingo is huge and filled with many different artists. It is a super colorful spectacle and if you speak a bit of Spanish it will help in getting the best price.

We also loved the Arteria. Besides paintings ans photographs by local artists, there are ceramics, local craft items, amber and jade carvings and jewelry. Arteria also has an extensive collection of semi-precious minerals, and materials for jewelry making. You always find things which are otherwise not available in the city.

How to get there

We took the ADO bus from Potchutla (near Mazunte) which was an 11 hour bus driving from 8 in the evening till 7 in the morning. I must say it was pretty comfortable even though it stopped every 40 minutes. During every stop the light went on and people got in and out. But I did make it to sleep at least seven hours.

There is no airport in San Cristobal but you could fly into Tuxtla Gutierez airport. There are no direct international flights to Tuxtla Gutierez, so travelers usually fly into Mexico City and take one of the frequent flights between the country's capital and Tuxtla. After you arrived you could take a bus from the terminal at Tuxtla Gutierrez on the 53-mile tip to San Cristobal.

Where to stay

We stayed at a beautiful Airbnb which we can highly recommend. It is a bit out of town which we liked. It took us usually 20 minutes to get back home, which was great to have some exercise after all these delicious meals. The owners of the Airbnb are also amazing and we felt at home the moment we stepped into the apartment.

If you prefer to stay at an hotel we can recommend the sustainable Casa Lum. It is in the heart of town but once you step into the hotel you won't notice it at all. At Casa Lum they are committed to the planet and the environment. They have established themselves as the leading Sustainable Hotel in the region for its performance towards sustainability.

Best time to visit

From November until February it gets very cool so you could avoid these months if you are not a big fan of cold weather. From June till September the rainy season takes place so the best months to visit are from March until June. Click here for more climate information.

Written by our reporter and co-founder Jan:

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This article was last updated on October 25, 2022.