The best areas of San Cristóbal de Las Casas are the neighborhoods of Historic Centre, El Cerillo, Guadalupe, Merced, San Ramon, Barrio de los Mexicanos. In this post, I will help you to find where to stay in San Cristóbal de Las Casas and best things to do in each district.
The colonial town of San Cristóbal de Las Casas is part of the Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns), located in the south of Mexico, about 100 miles from the border with Guatemala.
Founded in the early 16th-century by Diego de Manzariego, San Cristóbal de Las Casas is full of stunning historic architecture and cobbled alleys to explore. What’s more, the city is such a vibrant hub of Mexican culture that it is unofficially known as the cultural capital of the Chiapas region.
If you are first time tourists, the Historic City Centre is the best place to start. The city center is also ideal if you are traveling with children, as all the main attractions are within a short walking distance. The historic center is considered safe. Take some precautions, especially at night, and keep valuables in room safes.
If browsing museums is the main goal of your trip, then you are in luck as San Cristóbal de Las Casas lives up to its reputation as the cultural capital of Chiapas with museums scattered all across the city. That said, Centro, El Cerillo, and Merced are the areas with the best variety and most popular museums.
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:||Historic Centre|
|💎 Best luxury hotel:||Collection O Casa de Familia|
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:||Parador Margarita|
|💰 Best budget hotel:||Casa Azabache|
📌Where to Stay in San Cristóbal de Las Casas: 6 Best Areas
1. Historic Centre, best area to stay in San Cristóbal de las Casas
The Historic Centre, or Zona Centro as it is better known locally, is my top suggestion for anyone visiting the city for the first time. It is ideal for anyone who wants to stay close to the major historical attractions, as well as be surrounded by numerous vibrant districts, each within walking distance.
Being so conveniently located, the center is ideal for families with children. Regardless of where you want to visit each day, you won’t have far to go, and shepherding the whole family from place to place will feel less of an ordeal.
Full of popular cafes and fashionable restaurants, there are plenty of options for taking a break and sampling some of the local cuisine and hospitality.
As one of the oldest parts of the city, this area is ideal for lovers of history and period architecture. The charming streets and cobbled alleys allow you to feel immersed in the local culture. There are several particularly baroque and neoclassical buildings to look out for in the area.
The beautiful Catedral de San Cristobal de las Casas remains remarkably vibrant with its ornate yellow façade, despite having begun construction in 1528.
This is likely due to having taken almost 300 years to complete, with additional restorations in the 20thcentury. As such, various aspects of the cathedral’s design stand as testaments to the various historical periods the building has seen throughout its construction.
The cathedral overlooks several parks and plazas, including the Plaza 31 de Marzo and Plaza de la Paz where you can see many indigenous peoples selling local products.
The leafy central park, Plaza 31 de Marzo (or the main square, Zocalo), is a great place to experience the local culture and community. Full of street performers and surrounded by trendy cafes and restaurants, this is a popular meeting place for both locals and tourists.
Zocalo is where you can find the Tuscan-style construction of the Museum of the Governor’s Palace (also known as Museum of San Cristobal de las Casas – MUSAC) is a great place to learn about the region’s history and culture.
In addition to the organic history of the area, there are also several interesting museums worth taking a look at. The Museo Mesoamericano del Jade is a particularly fascinating collection.
Featuring exhibits of various jade artifacts and replicas of Mayan relics and jewelry, it offers a curious niche look at the history and culture of the area. The attached gift shop is a great place to pick up unique gifts and souvenirs.
Meanwhile, just around the corner from the jade museum is the Cultural Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate. Definitely head here if you want to pick up some local confectionaries to top up your energy.
If you head to the pedestrian street of Andador Eclesiastico, you will find the Moorish-style Carmen’s Arch (Arco del Carmen ) Carmen Temple, and San Agustin Plaza Food Court.
Other interesting places to visit are the Andador De Guadalupe, Museo del Ámbar (Amber Museum), Museo de Trajes Regionales de Sergio Castro, Centro Cultural del Carmen, Na Bolom Museum,
You should stay here if You want to stay somewhere as central as possible; It is your first time visiting San Cristóbal de Las Casas; You love history and historical architecture; You are planning a shorter trip; You are traveling with family and children.
Best places to stay In San Cristobal De Las Casas:
Parador Margarita is Ideally situated in the center of San Cristobal de las Casas, this hotel is less than 3 blocks from the city’s main square and offers a variety of convenient amenities for the modern traveler. It is just steps from a wide range of museums, shopping, nightlife, and restaurants. The city’s main bus station is just minutes away. The hotel also features transportation services to destinations in Chiapas.
Hotel Diego de Mazariegos is located just 150 m from San Cristobal Church, Hotel Diego de Mazariegos offers charming colonial-style rooms with free Wi-Fi and cable TV. This 18th-century house features attractive courtyards and spacious conference facilities.
Hotel Grand Maria is located in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. The accommodation offers a garden. The hotel is 300 m from San Cristobal Cathedral, 400 m from Central Plaza & Park and 400 m from Santo Domingo Church San Cristobal de las Casas.
Hotel Casa Margarita is 200 m from the Zócalo, San Cristobal De Las Casas’ Main Square. Set around a tranquil arched courtyard, this colonial-style hotel offers free WiFi in common areas and free parking at a nearby location.
Casa Azabache is set in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, 850 m from San Cristobal Cathedral and 1.2 km from Central Plaza & Park. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, a shared kitchen and free WiFi. All rooms have a patio.
Posada del Abuelito (Hostel) is the best budget hostel located in San Cristóbal de Las Casas’ town centre. The hostel is 200 m from Na Bolom Museum, 600 m from Santo Domingo Church and 800 m from the central plaza and park.
See more: Where to Stay in Mexico City
2. El Cerillo
If you love art and local craft culture, you will love El Cerillo. Located directly north of Centro, the area is full of small art galleries and eclectic local crafts stores. Just the streets alone are beautiful, dating back almost as far as the city’s founding and bearing its distinct historical architecture.
If you are looking for a district where you can immerse yourself in the local history and culture, but want to avoid the worst of the crowds in Centro, this is an excellent alternative.
Many of the old buildings have been converted into museums dedicated to their previous occupations. The old Santa Domingo Convent now houses exhibitions of various cultural relics from the region as well as displays detailing the introduction of Christianity in the area and its influence.
Nearby, the Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya boasts extensive collections of traditional textiles and colorful artifacts. The artistry and design of the pieces on display are more than just vibrant and beautiful. It offers a unique look into the various cultures that have left their mark on the region over the centuries.
One of the most architecturally stunning buildings in the district is the imposing Iglesia de Santo Domingo church. Ornate both inside and out, the church is well worth a visit. It overlooks a leafy plaza that hosts a daily market of local vendors and artisanal crafts stalls.
The bustling market is a fantastic opportunity to pick up some souvenirs. You can spend an afternoon browsing the varied stalls offering handcrafted jewelry, quirky fashion pieces, and local street food and produce.
You should stay here if you want to stay close to the city center but away from the crowded Centro streets; you love art and traditional crafts; you want to pick up some unique local crafts and souvenirs; you want to browse museums dedicated to the cultural development of the city.
Immediately east of the city center, stretching to the border with the El Encuentro Natural Park, is the cosmopolitan Barrio Guadalupe. Once well known as a hub for toymakers, much of this tradition now survives in various small museums, art galleries, and craft stores.
The Arteria Chiapas Galleria Tienda art gallery is a fantastic little place to visit for anyone interested in both viewing and purchasing local art. The gallery displays a variety of styles of artwork created by artists from the local region. You may even have the opportunity to observe some of the artists creating new works in the studio.
Whilst in the area, you should make sure to visit the pretty Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church. Located atop a hill in the east end of the neighborhood, the approach to the church consists of a long set of white and gold stairs leading through a tunnel of trees. It’s well worth the climb for the view of the city through the trees, and it makes an ideal spot for Instagram-worthy photos.
If you have a less adventurous palate or are traveling with any fussy eaters, the broad range of restaurants in this neighborhood might appeal to you. With a wide array of cuisines from around the globe represented here, there is sure to be something to suit everyone’s preferences.
As far as evening entertainment and nightlife, Guadalupe also boasts the best selection of bars in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. Whilst you won’t find much in the way of nightclubs, aside from a few in the city center, there is a variety of bars to choose from and you are sure to find something to keep you partying until late into the night.
There is a particularly good selection of hotels in this area, including a number of quality 2 and 3-star options. With a greater range to choose from, as well as more affordable options, this is a great place for anyone on a budget to start looking for accommodation.
You should stay here if you are on a budget but still want to stick close to the city centre; You want a good range of dining options; A thriving nightlife scene is important
Merced is the district directly west of the city centre. It is dominated in the south by a thickly forested hill, topped by the San Cristobalito Church. Paths wind through the trees leading up to the peak of the hill, from where you can enjoy some spectacular views across the city.
Like the rest of the city, Merced is well populated with a variety of museums. The Museum of Popular Culture of Chiapas and the Museum of History and Curiosities of San Cristobal are almost next door to one another and offer fascinating insights into the history, culture, and development of the local area.
If you liked the sound of the jade museum in the city center, you can carry on the gem theme with a visit to the Amber Museum in Merced. Situated in a converted convent dating back to the 16th century, the museum exhibits a range of fossils, jewelry, and sculptures carved from locally excavated amber.
There are plenty of amber products available to purchase from the museum, and staff will even provide tips on how to recognize fake amber, should you be tempted to buy from street vendors and craft stores.
If you want to take the opportunity to experience the local live arts and music culture, consider attending a show at EL PALIACATE Espacio Cultural Centre. It’s an intimate local venue decorated with murals by artists in the community and includes an onsite bar serving reasonably priced beer and food.
With frequent shows ranging from local musicians to cultural events, you should definitely check what event they’ll be hosting during your stay.
You should stay here if Browsing local museums is a primary goal of your trip; Getting acquainted with the local arts and culture of San Cristobal de las Casas is how you want to spend your; vacation; You want to stay close to the city centre but in a quieter neighbourhood
5. San Ramon
San Ramon is the furthest district from the city center on this list. Of course, being a compact city, this simply means that Centro is a few minutes’ walks away instead of just around the corner. This neighborhood is ideal for anyone who prioritizes having a quiet and peaceful suburban location to relax in, instead of the constant energy and crowds of the city centre.
In some ways, staying further from the center is not so ideal if you are traveling with children, as it requires traveling further with them to visit the sights and attractions. However, this particular neighborhood is well known for its many bakeries and candy shops, where you can sample a wide variety of fresh local pastries and confections.
I’m sure most children would appreciate the opportunity to indulge in desserts with the excuse of cultural enrichment.
You should stay here if You don’t mind being a little way away from the city centre; You prefer quieter suburban neighbourhoods; It is not your first time visiting the city; You are visiting with children; Indulging in local confections is a highlight of your vacation.
6. Barrio de los Mexicanos
North of Centro and west of El Cerillo, Barrio de los Mexicanos is one of the oldest neighborhoods in San Cristobal de las Casas, dating back to the origins of the city.
Less packed with museums and tourist sights than its neighbors, this is a great place to consider if you want to immerse yourself in the historic streets whilst avoiding your fellow tourists. Being so close to two of the most popular tourist districts in San Cristobal de las Casas, you will still have very convenient access to their respective attractions.
This neighborhood might be particularly interesting to anyone trying to stick to a smaller budget. There is a good variety of 2 and 3-star hotels and affordable but quality hostels in the area. Ideal if you want to keep costs down whilst staying pretty close to some of the city’s top attractions.
You should stay here if You want to stay in one of the oldest parts of the city; You want to stay close to the city center and main attractions but away from the worst of the crowds; You are trying to stick to a smaller budget.
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If you are looking to dive into the history and culture of Mexico, San Cristóbal de Las Casas is a fantastic city to visit. Teeming with both well-preserved relics and vibrant modern culture, this is a gem of a city that is vastly underappreciated as a tourist destination.
By now I’m sure you agree that there is plenty worth visiting in San Cristóbal de Las Casas and you should even know exactly where you want to stay. All that’s left is booking the accommodation and you’ll be ready to head off on your next cultural adventure.