San Cristobal de las Casas is definitely not to be missed on your Mexico itinerary! Boasting European architecture, vibrant street art, artisan markets, buzzing nightlife, nature parks, cultural experiences and much more!
I have put together this complete guide of 13 Awesome Things To Do In San Cristobal de las Casas to help you plan your trip!
Also in this San Cristobal de las Casas travel guide, I have included useful information on how to get around and recommended places to stay in San Cristobal.
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13 THINGS TO DO IN SAN CRISTOBAL OVERVIEW
See a brief overview below of the 13 Best Things To Do In San Cristobal De Las Casas that you will find in this post:
- Climb the stairs to Guadalupe Church
- Try the wine and tapas at La Viña de Bacco
- Buy souvenirs at the Artisan Market
- Wander through the Municipal Market
- See the natural archway at Arcotete Park
- Day trip to Cascada El Chiflon
- Visit the Casa Na Bolom Museum
- Chocolate tasting at the Kakaw Museum
- Get lost in the streets of San Cristobal
- Cañon Del Sumidero Tour
- Have lunch at Casa De Familia
- Check out the De Dulces Artisan Market
- Discover the many churches in San Cristobal
#1 CLIMB THE STAIRS TO GUADALUPE CHURCH
Visiting the Guadalupe Church (Iglesia de Guadalupe) is one of the best things to do in San Cristobal which is why I have put it at the top of this to-do list!
Whether you are religious or not, the Guadalupe Church is the perfect place to start your adventures in San Cristobal de las Casas to get your bearings of the city from its elevated location.
The Guadalupe Church is situated at the very end of the famous walking street, Real de Guadalupe, which is where you will find the 80 steps to climb up to the church to look inside.
My favorite features of Iglesia de Guadalupe are the striking gold and white colors painted on the exterior walls and the statue of Virgin Mary on the altar which is framed by neon lights.
80 steps to the top – Things to do in San Cristobal
View of San Cristobal de las Casas at the top
Inside Guadalupe Church
Things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas
#2 TRY THE WINE & TAPAS AT LA VIÑA DE BACCO
If you’re a lover of wine and tapas food then you can’t go past La Viña de Bacco with its large selection of local and international wines for as little as 25 MXN per glass. A motto they stand by is ‘The Best Medicine Is Wine’!
The best part about La Viña de Bacco is with every glass of wine they offer FREE tapas food and unlimited salty popcorn. It’s bang for your buck if you ask me!
La Viña de Bacco is located on Real de Guadalupe walking street and its doors are open from 1:00 pm till late every day of the week. You can also enjoy live music on most nights typically kicking off around 7:00 pm.
It’s one of the best things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas, in my opinion, and definitely not to be missed!
La Viña de Bacco San Cristobal de las Casas
Red wine and free tapas!
#3 BUY SOUVENIRS AT THE ARTISAN MARKETS
Strolling through the Artisan Markets is one of the best things to do in San Cristobal during your visit. You could easily spend a few hours at the Artisan Markets, shopping for souvenirs or purchasing a gift to send back home to your family and friends.
Located in the very center of San Cristobal de las Casas, it’s hard to miss this thriving market filled with hundreds of vendors selling handmade garments produced by the Indigenous textile-makers and wonderful pieces of artwork from the local artists.
There is always so much happening at the Artisan Markets in San Cristobal de las Casas and I guarantee you’ll love the vibrant atmosphere inside!
Artisan Markets – What to do in San Cristobal
Jeweler shop at the Artisan Markets
Finding all sorts of nic nacs
#4 WANDER THROUGH THE MUNICIPAL MARKET
Be sure to check out the Municipal Market which is located right next to the Artisan Markets in San Cristobal de las Casas. This market is a little different which is filled with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, livestock, electronic stores, homewares, bakery goods and much more!
The Municipal Market is a sensory overload, in a good way, and not to be missed on your list of things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas!
Must Read → 11 Things To Do In Puerto Escondido
Municipal Market – Chiapas San Cristobal de las Casas
Above the madness at the Municipal Market
#5 SEE THE NATURAL ARCHWAY AT ARCOTETE PARK
The Arcotete Ecotourist Park (El Arcotete Parque Ecoturístico) is a worthy addition to your list of things to do in San Cristóbal de las Casas!
Arcotete features an incredible cave system with a large limestone archway and freshwater river that runs right through the middle. The whole area is surrounded by pine trees and lush greenery which is just 20 minutes drive or a 1-hour walk from the town center of San Cristóbal de las Casas.
There is an entrance fee of 10 MXN to enter the park at Arcotete and an additional 15 MXN if you wish to enter inside the caves (gruta). A series of zip lines (tirolesa) can also be found inside El Arcotete park if you’re up for an adrenaline-fuelled adventure! The cost of the zip line is 100 MXN per person.
From the entrance down to the bottom of the valley, it’s no more than a 5-minute walk and the trail emerges right at the base of the El Arcotete archway.
The walls are around 40 meters high, framed by lush vegetation and a freshwater river about 5 meters wide cuts right through the middle of the archway. On the roof of the cave system, you can see large pinnacle stalactites and stalagmites that are formed out of limestone rocks.
View Full Blog Post: Arcotete Park
Arcotete archway – Things to do in San Cristobal
Small bridge crossing at Arcotete Chiapas
El Arcotete – San Cristobal de las Casas things to do
#6 DAY TRIP TO CASCADA EL CHIFLÓN
Cascadas El Chiflon is easily one of the most incredible waterfalls I have ever seen! Boasting not just one but five EPIC waterfalls and turquoise-colored cascades flowing down a lush green valley which can all be explored via an easy walking trail.
Cascadas del Chiflon is located next to a small village called San Vicente La Mesilla in Chiapas, approximately 3-hours drive south of San Cristobal de las Casas.
The easiest and most convenient way to reach Cascadas El Chiflon is to book a full-day tour from San Cristobal de las Casas. I recommend booking the Cascada El Chiflon tour online in advance on the Get Your Guide website which has great reviews and hundreds of bookings.
The tour includes a hotel pick-up in San Cristobal, a visit to Cascadas del Chiflon, boat cruise and swim at Montebello Lakes National Park, then returning to San Cristobal with a hotel drop-off.
Book Now → Cascadas El Chiflon Tour
There are three viewpoints once you reach the top of the trail at Cascadas El Chiflon. My favorite viewpoint of the three is the one that is the highest and the closest to the base of the falls which can be accessed by a concrete staircase.
The closer you get to main falls at Cascadas El Chiflon, the wetter you are going to get from the copious amounts of mist that fills the air. Getting soaked from the spray of the falls is an incredible experience in itself.
The grandeur size of Cascada El Chiflon is an incredible sight and one I won’t soon forget. Boasting a 120-meter waterfall that surges down a towering cliff face with immense power, crashing into a circular catch basin below.
View Full Blog Post: Cascadas El Chiflon
Cascadas El Chiflon
Turquoise waters at Cascada El Chiflon
Drone shot of Cascadas El Chiflon
Cascadas El Chiflón
#7 VISIT THE CASA NA BOLOM MUSEUM
The Casa Na Bolom Museum is one of the top things to do in San Cristobal while wandering around the city checking out all the sights, so be sure to add it to the list!
The entrance fee at Casa Na Bolom is 60 MXN per person and there is also an in-house restaurant, massage center and souvenir shop.
Inside the museum, you can find old artifacts that belonged to a couple of European explorers, Gertrude and Frans Blom, who resided in Chiapas in the mid-1900s. They spent the majority of their time studying and protecting the Mayan culture in the region.
There are a number of courtyards inside Casa Na Bolom that are particularly interesting, featuring curved archways painted a bright yellow color and beautiful gardens surround the building. An Instagram-worthy location for sure!
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Beautiful courtyards inside Casa Na Bolom
Artifacts from Frans Blom
Colorful vibes at Casa Na Bolom Museum
#8 CHOCOLATE TASTING AT KAKAW MUSEUM
This one is for all the chocolate connoisseurs out there, which I am guessing is most of you! The Kakaw Museum and Cafe is not to be missed on your list of what to do in San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas.
Centrally located near to the main walking street, you can visit the Kakaw Museum for just 30 MXN and learn about the importance that Cacao has in the region of Chiapas including how it’s farmed and how it was once used as currency.
Before you leave, it would be rude not to sit down for 10 minutes and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate at the Kakaw Cafe.
Kakaw Museum – Things to do in San Cristobal
Kakaw Cafe San Cristobal
#9 GET LOST IN THE STREETS OF SAN CRISTOBAL
Getting lost in the streets is not an official activity or location but it is, however, one of the best things to do in San Cristobal to get a real feel for the city and its friendly vibes!
Almost every street in San Cristobal boasts impressive graffiti art, colorful street decorations and old school cars that make for awesome photo opportunities!
My favorite walking street in San Cristobal and the most vibrant is Real de Guadalupe which is filled with overhead streamers, quaint cafes, artisan stores and lively pubs. Pop your head into each store and say hello to the friendly locals and maybe even purchase some artisanal trinkets.
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Real de Guadalupe San Cristobal de las Casas
Epic graffiti in the streets of San Cristobal
Vibrant streets of San Cristobal de las Casas
#10 CAÑON DEL SUMIDERO TOUR
An excursion to Cañon Del Sumidero is one of the best day trips to be had from San Cristobal de las Casas! Cruise along the river in a boat between the towering Sumidero Canyon walls and drive the road at the top of the canyon to 5 different panoramic viewpoints.
Canñon Del Sumidero is widely known for its abundance of wildlife including monkeys, birds and even crocodiles that reside in and around the canyon and for its grandeur size which is something you just have to see with your own eyes!
The Sumidero Canyon Tour is a full-day activity that begins at 9:00 am with a hotel pick-up in San Cristobal, a short 1.5 hours drive west to Cañon de Sumidero located in Tuxtla, a visit to the 5 panoramic viewpoints, boat trip along the river ‘Rio Grijalva’ down inside the canyon and a stop into the magical town of Chiapa de Corzo before returning to San Cristobal at around 3:00 pm.
If you’re up for a fun-fuelled adventure in Chiapas, I highly recommend adding this tour to your list of things to do in San Cristobal.
There are countless tour companies in San Cristobal de las Casas to book a Sumidero Tour but in my experience, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which one is best.
I recommend booking the Sumidero Canyon Tour online in advance with Get Your Guide which has great reviews and hundreds of bookings. This will save you from having to haggle for a good price with the local tour companies in the city.
Book Now → Sumidero Canyon Tour
Cañon del Sumidero
Panoramic viewpoints at Sumidero Canyon
Towering canyon walls – Things to do in San Cristobal
#11 HAVE LUNCH AT CASA DE FAMILIA
Casa de Familia is a beautiful hotel with an in-house restaurant just 3 blocks away from San Cristobal de las Casas city center and offers some of the best-tasting food in Chiapas!
The cuisine is Japanese inspired combined with traditional Mexican-style and it’s absolutely mouthwatering! The best part is that lunch will be served to your table in a lush garden setting.
Casa de Familia’s doors are open to outside visitors so you don’t need to be a guest at the hotel to have lunch and drinks at the restaurant here.
Having lunch at Casa de Familia
Delicious things to do in San Cristobal
Beautiful garden setting at Casa de Familia
#12 CHECK OUT DE DULCES ARTISAN MARKET
De Dulces Artisan Market is off the beaten tourist trail and is well worth adding to your list of things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas!
Just a short 5 to 10-minute walk south of the main square in San Cristobal you can find Mercado de Dulces and shop till you drop in the labyrinth of narrow alleyways inside.
De Dulces Market is more popular among the locals which means the prices for goods are less inflated as opposed to the other markets closer to the city center. This vibrant market is filled with all sorts of handicrafts, trinkets, sweets and delicious baked goods!
De Dulces Artisan Market
Handmade goods at Mercado de Dulces
Baked goods! – What to do in San Cristobal
#13 DISCOVER THE MANY CHURCHES IN SAN CRISTOBAL
Last but not least on this list of awesome things to do in San Cristobal Chiapas is the many churches that are dotted around the city and waiting to be discovered!
It may not be as exciting or adventurous as some of the other things listed in this San Cristobal travel guide but I thoroughly enjoyed taking photos of the countless churches I stumbled upon.
My personal favorite church that I found in San Cristobal de las Casas is the Church of Santa Lucia (Iglesia de Santa Lucíaar). It’s a short walk south of the main square and located very close to De Dulces Market. It’s striking blue and white colors on the exterior walls of the church resemble the clouds and the skies above!
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Church of Santa Lucia in San Cristobal Chiapas
The church in the main square
WHERE TO STAY IN SAN CRISTOBAL
San Cristobal de las Casas has hundreds of accommodations to choose from so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in San Cristobal to suit the needs of luxury travelers and budget backpackers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: HOTEL BO
Mid Range: HOTEL CASA DE FAMILIA
Budget: CASA 74
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN SAN CRISTOBAL, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
GETTING AROUND SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS
There are few ways to get around San Cristobal and they are by taxi, Colectivo (public bus) and on foot.
The easiest, cheapest and most convenient way to get around San Cristobal de las Casas is on foot.
If you don’t mind a bit of exercise it’s possible to walk around San Cristobal in less than a day to visit the majority of the top attractions the city has to offer!
Another option is to jump in a Colectivo which is the most common and cheapest mode of transport around the city of San Cristobal de las Casas.
You can wait for a Colectivo van to pick you up on any road corner and they typically come every 15-minutes. The cost of a Colectivo within the city limits is only 10 MXN per ride.
Getting around San Cristobal by taxi is not the cheapest option but, in saying that, it’s not overly expensive.
For a 15-minute drive in a taxi from one end of the city to the other will set you back around 75-100 MXN one way.
Exploring San Cristobal at night!
SAN CRISTOBAL MAP
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AIRBNB SAN CRISTOBAL
Another option for accommodation in San Cristobal de las Casas is to stay in an Airbnb, which generally has some great deals!
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LONELY PLANET – MEXICO
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Mexico Travel Guide!
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MORE MEXICO TRAVEL GUIDES
- Mexico Itinerary: 4 Week Mexico Itinerary
- San Cristobal: 13 Things To Do In San Cristobal
- Puerto Escondido: 11 Things To Do In Puerto Escondido
- Oaxaca: 7 Best Tours In Oaxaca
- Tulum: 15 Things To Do In Tulum
- Bacalar: 9 Things To Do In Bacalar
- Maya Riviera: Best Cenotes In Maya Riviera
- Cozumel Island: 9 Things To Do In Cozumel Island
- Mexico City: Day Of The Dead Festival
WHAT TO PACK FOR SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS
Everyday Backpack: One of the best backpacks on the market! The Nomatic 20L Backpack is perfect for on the go adventures. Featuring multiple storage spaces for valuables, drink bottles, chargers, notebooks and more. This sleek backpack was designed for you.
Universal Power Adapter: Don’t leave home without one! I highly recommend getting this Universal Power Adapter so that you are able to charge all of your electronics when you’re on the road. Compatible in Asia, UK, Europe, Africa, USA, SA and Australia.
Hidden Money Belt: I never go on a trip without one! The best thing is they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing. With RFID blocking, they are perfectly designed to keep your credit cards, cash and other valuables safe when you’re out adventuring!
Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case is a must-have item! This universal case will keep your phone safe from water damage, sand and scratches during your adventures. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Portable Charger: One of the best portable chargers on the market! The Anker Power Bank keeps your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures. Featuring 2 USB charging ports, rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo and Android.
Microfibre Travel Towel: To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? A standard bathroom towel can take up a lot of space in your travel bag. Get your hands on a quick-dry Microfibre Travel Towel which is perfect for the beach, backpacking, camping and general traveling.
Rain Jacket: A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when traveling! North Face waterproof rain jackets come in both men and women sizes, featuring a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Kindle: The best alternative for books! Kindle e-readers are perfect for long haul flights, reading on the beach or a quiet evening away from the bars. Kindle’s are waterproof with rechargeable batteries and adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions.
Packing Cubes: My favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear and more. This 5 Set Packing Cubes makes packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space in your bag for your next trip.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Want to avoid food poisoning? Most of us have been a victim of travelers diarrhea from eating street food. Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets are fast-acting and will rid your system of the bad bacteria that causes stomach upset.
MY CAMERA GEAR
Everyday Camera: The most affordable mirrorless camera on the market! I personally use the Sony A7ii Mirrorless Camera on all of my adventures. It’s compact, lightweight and super easy to use for all levels of photography. A 28-70mm Sony lens is also included.
Drone Camera: Take your photography to new heights! The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy to control functions and traveler-friendly capabilities. I guarantee you won’t regret purchasing one.
GoPro Hero 8: One of the most popular cameras on the planet! I love using the GoPro Hero 8 for all of my underwater shots and fast-paced adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 captures the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use!
Camera Bag: My favorite camera bag I have ever owned! The Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag features a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for cameras, drones, lenses, accessories and it also has a laptop pocket.
Selfie Stick: Everyone loves a good selfie, right!? The Sandmarc Metal Edition Selfie Stick is sleek, stylish and can extend to 1.2m. I find it much easier to take photos and videos with the GoPro when it is mounted to the Sandmarc Selfie Stick!
Camera Tripod: The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all cameras. This tripod is easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse video or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
GoPro Dome: Have you ever wanted to capture those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This epic underwater GoPro dome housing is the best camera accessory to have to create the perfect 50/50 shot. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card: The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for images and videos. Having 64GB of storage means that you can store hundreds of files on this SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
External Hard Drive: As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use the WD Elements External Hard Drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for 1 years worth of content.
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I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions at all about Things To Do In San Cristobal, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.