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Explore San Cristobal de las Casas

Mexico spanish colonial history

San Cristobal de las Casas is situated in a fertile valley surrounded by mountains in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. It is home to several indigenous groups descended from the Maya. San Cristobal is one of Mexico's best-preserved Spanish colonial towns.

San Cristobal has been a well-known international tourist destination since the 70s. Today, the town is home to numerous travel agencies, language schools, art-house cinemas, museums and artisans' markets, as well as a dizzying array of shops, sidewalk cafes and restaurants, many catering to international visitors.

You'll want to set aside plenty of time to wander the narrow cobblestone streets of San Cristobal.

Along the main plaza you'll find the stunning city hall and Cathedral. North of the plaza, you'll also discover San Cristobal's Museo Templo y Convento Santo Domingo.

A staircase leads up to the Templo de San Cristobal and the town's best mirador. Climb to the top to enjoy spectacular views overlooking the town of San Cristobal, the surrounding mountains and countryside.

With its laid-back, bohemian atmosphere, San Cristobal de las Casas continues to be a popular destination among international backpackers and foreign residents, many who arrive to study Spanish or volunteer with local organizations in the fields of sustainability, education and human rights.

You can spend hours browsing the shops and artisans' markets in San Cristobal, or take a trip out to one of the nearby villages to see where the crafts are made.

Several interesting day trips from San Cristobal include visits to the outlying highland villages of San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo Zinacantan. Both towns offer a unique glimpse into the traditions and customs of the region's indigenous Maya communities.

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