Chiapas

A state full of magic

San Cristobal de las Casas is situated in a fertile valley surrounded by mountains in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. Chiapas is home to several indigenous groups descended from the Maya, two of the largest being the Tzotzils and Tzeltals who inhabit highland villages surrounding San Cristobal.

The indigenous people of Chiapas speak their own language (often in addition to Spanish), practice their own unique customs and can be identified by their traditional dress that varies by group. They continue to depend primarily on agriculture for their economic well-being; however, it’s not unusual for them to travel into San Cristobal to sell their handmade crafts and shop in the markets for everyday items to take back to their villages.

San Cristobal, one of Mexico’s best-preserved Spanish colonial towns, is made up of a series of traditional barrios (neighborhoods), each of which is known for a particular trade or custom, such as iron working, carpentry and woodcarving.

You’ll want to set aside plenty of time to wander the narrow cobblestone streets of San Cristobal, past brightly painted buildings and colorful shops and markets. The town is laid out on a grid pattern and can be easily explored on foot. Several of the main streets leading through the center of town are closed to traffic and converge on the central park or zocalo (main plaza).

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