How to Spend 3 Days in San Cristóbal de las Casas
Nestled in the Chiapas Highlands, San Cristóbal de las Casas is known for its scenery, culture, and political history. With some planning, three days should be plenty to explore the city, see natural highlights, and even discover a distant heritage site. Here’s how.
Day 1: Sightsee in the City
Embark on a morning tour to get your bearings before the crowds descend. Learn about San Cristóbal’s unique history with a guide or take advantage of photography tours to get the best angles.
Following a traditional lunch of street-stalltamales, swing by the Santo Domingo Artisan Market to pick up souvenirs and then immerse yourself in Chiapan culture at one of the city museums. If you’d rather save time with a pre-planned itinerary, you can book a full-day package that includes must-do experiences such as a city tour, village visit, and admission to the Na Bolom Cultural Centre. Come dinner time, take a seat on an outdoor terrace along Real de Guadalupe to enjoy local or international cuisine as the sun sets behind surrounding mountains.
Day 2: Explore Rural Surroundings
Widen your perspective of Chiapas on a day tour to one of the highland city’s rural landmarks. Whether you’re a culture vulture or active adventurer, you have options; the neighboring villages of Chamula and Zinacantan offer insight into Chiapas’s indigenous community, while nearby waterfalls, caves, and sinkholes are ideal for caving, rappelling, and hiking.
Alternatively, Sumidero Canyon boat excursions provide a more relaxed view of the valleyscape; day tours typically include round-trip transfer and return you to San Cristobal in the early evening. Taquerias and restaurants around the Zocalo serve well into the evening, so you can wind down with drinks and dinner as soon as you arrive back in town.
Day 3: Discover Palenque
Chiapas’s stand-out attraction is Palenque, an ancient Mayan city some 200 kilometers (120 miles) from San Cristóbal de las Casas. Discover the UNESCO-listed landmark on a day trip from the city, in order to get the inside scoop on ancient history and relish a lack of crowds compared to Tulum and Chichen Itza. Itineraries typically include other on-the-way points of interest such as the Agua Azul or Misol-Há waterfalls. Consider packing snacks to take with you as not all tours include lunch and drop-off back to San Cristóbal is usually very late in the evening.