Colours and Indians
- Price from:
- 64 GBP /person
- 01273 322046
- Payment Types:
- Credit Card
- Travellers cheque
- Wire Transfer
- 3 days
- Location Start:
- San Cristobal de las Casas
- Location Finish:
- San Cristobal de las Casas
- We Speak:
Last updated: 02/19/2009
San Cristobal is the regional heart of indigenous Indian culture. The colourful streets, historic churches and plazas are very picturesque, and there's much more to discover in surrounding villages.
Arrival San Cristobal
When you arrive in San Cristobal follow the colourful streets uphill to your posada, and you'll find yourself in the middle of some of the prettiest streets in the city. There are hammocks and rocking chairs on the roof terrace and the rooms are all cheerfully decorated.Besides being an important trading post, San Cristobal de las Casas is also known as the base of the 'Zapatistas', the group of local Chiapas rebels striving for an autonomous state and more rights for the indigenous Mayan people. As a visitor you won't notice anything of the previous unrest or road blocks but that doesn't mean to say the political tension has been diffused.In the centre of San Cristobal you'll see a friendly mix of Mexicans, Indians and travellers. Spend the day wandering round the colourful winding streets that slowly lead uphill through the city. The higher you get, the more beautiful the view: bright sunlight reflects on the green mountains against a background of threatening clouds.Because San Cristobal is quite high up in the Mountains (2100m) the evenings can get quite chilly so you'll need a sweater or a jacket. A tequila or margarita in one of the local bars usually does the trick too.
San Cristobal, excursion to Chamula
Your stay in San Cristobal wouldn't be complete without a visit to San Juan Chamula, a small highland village home to the Tzotzil Indians. The villagers live by a curious set of customs dating back to the Spanish invaders, when the traditional local customs became entwined with Catholic practices. The village has some unfamiliar legislation which you won't be aware of (for example, you need to register when you visit) which is why we have arranged a tour with a local guide. That way you can gain a full understanding of this fascinating place.You'll meet the guide at 9 am in the square in front of the big cathedral. Many travellers first do a tour of San Cristobal before visiting Chamula so in order to beat the crowds, drive to Chamula early.The church of Chamula may look inconspicuous from the outside, but inside it's a different story. Instead of benches the floor is covered in pine needles which, together with the incense, fill the church with an intoxicating aroma. People are seated on the ground around a shaman (priest) who on hearing the predicament calls on the higher spirits to offer the best advice. This could be sacrificing a chicken (or perhaps bottle of Coke, it makes you burp which allegedly purifies the body).The Tzotzil are very shy and distant, unlike the inhabitants of Zinacantan, where you will go next. It's quieter and the local families make a living selling their crafts, textiles or tortillas. They love showing you how they live. Around 2.30pm you'll be back in San Cristobal, in time to visit the local market.
San Cristobal, departureThis day marks the end of your tour, but San Cristobal is a great place to stick around for a while. With the nice atmosphere, the walks and the sights, there's plenty to enjoy here, so stay an extra day and go horse riding or hiking in the hills around the city.
- Inclusions -
- 2 nights posada in San Cristobal and an excursion to Chamula
- Exclusions -
- All meals
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