Chaipas 2: San Cristobal and San Juan Chamula

San Cristobal

After a somewhat winding, weaving and sickening journey thought the mountains from Palenque, we arrived in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

San Cristobal is a beautiful relic of Mexico’s colonial era.  Largely built and governed independently of the rest of the region, San Cristobal has a unique charm. 

 

In addition to having a fantastic street-scape, the city also has a very lively outdoor market where you can buy everything from shoes to cactus leaves.

Surprisingly there is a very wide range of vegetarian food available.  We even ate a Mexicanised vegetarian Thai meal!

Best of all (for us!) the city proudly promotes itself as the coffee capital of Chiapas (which probably puts it in the running as the cofffee capital of the world).  The town even has a coffee museum where you can learn about coffee farming techniques and the movement to collective and cooperative farming. As a result, we drank the tasty brew at every opportunity that we got. 

San Juan Chamula

San Juan Chamula is a largely Tzosil village just outside San Cristobal.  We decided to pay this village a visit on its market day.  Basically, the market occurs in the town square (which is a sight in its own right). 

 

The villages and surrounding communities of Chaipas maintain distinct cultural identities.  In Chamula, for example, the men and women wear vests and skirts made from goat’s hair.

The market itself was a maize of fruit and spice sellers and chicken sellers.  Basically you could buy almost anything a household would require.

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