This post is dedicated to possibly my favourite town in Mexico so far. Now, this is a Pueblo Magico that really deserves its name. No, not its actual name which is San Cristobal de las Casas (lit. Saint Christopher of the Houses). It totally deserves its title of Pueblo Magico.
The town is delightful, with lots of old houses painted colorfully and with gorgeous murals everywhere. The food was amazing. I have a whole section in this post dedicated to the incredible food we ate in San Cris (and some of the food I forgot to take pictures of as well). So there wasn’t much that would stop me from liking San Cris, to be totally honest.
Just about everything was delightful, except maybe the weather, which I felt was slightly too cold for my liking. It actually wasn’t that cold either, I think, but the hostel we stayed in had terrible insulation so it was usually much colder inside the hostel than it was outside.
We met up with Julian again in San Cris, so that was nice. He was doing a Workaway and we were just chilling but it was great to have a familiar face around, and to randomly wander up and down and up and down and up and down the same three walking streets over and over and over again.
Some 10km away from San Cristobal de las Casas is the little town of San Juan Chamula, a town that is almost entirely made up of indigenous people who speak mostly their own indigenous language, rather than Spanish. Chamula is also home to a church that has become somewhat infamous for their practices.
Firstly, nobody is allowed to take pictures or film inside the church. Secondly, there are no pews in the church. The floor is instead covered in pine needles that people kneel on to worship. Thirdly, the church is full of candles which gives the whole place a rather eerie feel, and the sides are lined with dozens of figurines of saints.
What’s probably the most unusual about this church is that the people who visit the church don’t seem to adhere to any Christian practices, but instead perform their own indigenous rituals, such as chanting in their native language, making offerings of crackers, Coca-Cola and pox a potent liquor, and as we witnessed, making ritual sacrifices of live chickens. If you’re interested in reading more, this is a cool link. It was a rather surreal experience and I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it.
We also visited the cemetery in San Juan Chamula, where we were told locals bury their deceased in “stacks”, or one on top of another. They plant multiple crosses at each grave to indicate how many people are buried there, and when we visited, it looked like the cemetery was almost full to bursting point.
Apart from that unusual experience in San Juan Chamula, we also went on a tour of El Cañón del Sumidero, which was mad cool.
And then we stopped at three viewpoints to see the canyon from way up above. That was pretty darn cool.
And we also stopped for a while at Chiapa de Corzo (another Pueblo Magico! Not sure why though), which had a cool monument in the center of the plaza so…maybe that’s why it was magical? Who knows (probably the internet but whatever).
So after all this fun and food, I was quite sad to leave San Cristobal, but we were leaving it to go to the beach, so I wasn’t too upset about it.
Aaaaaaand I do believe I’ll save Puerto Escondido, Mexico City and Mazunte for the next blog post! So catch ya in the next post!