Posted October 25, 2006 by Kay Walten in Loco Adventures
(above) The hand-carved Temple of Santo Domingo in San Cristobal shines in the afternoon sun; a standing tribute to the artistry of Chiapas’ Spanish colonial past. Again this month we are far from the beaches of the Riviera Maya to show you more from our trip last year to the exotic mountain state of Chiapas in southern Mexico, this time to San Cristobal de las Casas.
The central zocalo and streets of San Cristobal are full of shops, restaurants and color. Both locals and tourists come here to relax and sell their craft work. We came to San Cris after several days in Palenque and the surrounding area. Our drive was on a mountain highway full of switchbacks and steep drop-offs, not a casual drive for the timid driver. Coming from the jungle heat of Palenque, San Cristobal was a welcome change to the cool highlands 7,467 ft (2,276 mtrs) above sea level.
The Santo Domingo church is the gathering place for the city’s daily market offering produce, household items, textiles, and more. One of the most popular souvenirs is the sub-comandante Marcos dolls—the leader of the Zapatista movement (EZLN). The dolls wear a ski mask, rifle and bandoliers. Some have Marco’s wife, Romana, behind him on horseback.
San Cristobal has a long colonial history beginning in 1524 when captain Luis Marin tried to settle the region. He found strong resistance from the indigenous tribes and decided to retreat without establishing a Spanish settlement. 400 years would pass before the area could be fully settled and when it finally was it was named in honor of fray Bartolome who championed the plight of the indigenous tribes. Today San Cristobal is one of Chiapas’ most beautiful cities, nestled in a Chiapan highland valley surrounded by forests. It retains its colonial traditions as a gathering place for Lacandon Maya and other indigenous tribes.
San Cristóbal is a center for colorful handicrafts, international cuisine, regional fiestas, mystical ceremonies and colonial history. Surrounding towns and several nearby churches are enough to keep most travelers here busy for days, but just strolling around town, mingling with the people and visiting the local shops could be a trip in itself.
The zocalo (Plaza Civica) is the heart of town, with the main cathedral adjacent to it. Here you will see street performers, balloon vendors, families, couples and kids, all strolling the sidewalks or sitting on park benches enjoying the scene. On the streets that radiate out from the zocalo are quaint cafes, craft shops, artisans, trendy art shops, museums, bars and live music. Other interesting places include the Amber museum and the cultural center, also just a few blocks from the central zocalo.
One of the most popular places to visit is Casa Na Bolom (House of the Jaguar in the Tzotzil Mayan language). Na Bolom is an interactive complex that houses a museum, cultural center, hotel, restaurant, artisan center and research facilities all housed in an historic monument originally built to house a religious seminary in 1898. The facility was once the private home of Danish archaeologist/explorer Frans Blom, and his wife the Swiss conservationist and photographer Gertrude Blom. The Blooms were devoted to the study and lives of the Lacandon Maya located in southern Chiapas. One morning we had breakfast at the museum, which is open to the public. We were seated in a formal dining room with a long table, elbow to elbow with students of several nationalities, Mexicans and Lacadons. Na Bolom houses visiting Lacandons and tends to their needs as they come to San Cristobal for medical care, etc.
We stayed at Rincon del Arco a hotel a few blocks from the zocalo. One of the most interesting things we saw in San Cristobal was at this hotel when the owner invited us the see his little textile business, a large room full of old looms and spools of thread. It was a great photo op and behind-the-scene look at the looming craft.
Riviera Maya Activities (212)
Mexican Art (61)
Community Organizations (26)
Mexican Culture (172)
Mexico Destinations (124)
Family vacations (94)
Food & Drink (224)
Guest Bloggers (20)
Riviera Maya Photos (300)
Riviera Maya events (78)
Riviera Maya Services (61)
Sustainable Tourism (112)
Vacation tips (55)
Destination Weddings (30)
Costa Maya (12)
Loco Adventures (42)
Mayan Ruins (36)
Riviera Maya Destinations (238)
Community Announcements (20)
Mexican Recipes (30)
Riviera Maya Restaurants (68)
Mindful Traveler (48)
Yucatan Activities (43)
Riviera Maya Vacation Tips (134)
Mexico Vacation Tips (163)
Restaurant Reviews (8)
Interview with a Local (15)
"LocoGringo.com books total trip packages and I recommend LG to all my friends and even to strangers I hear talking about going to Mexico!!"
"and for the past five years we have used Loco Gringo for every reservation, I'm sorry that we did not find them sooner.
I have been searching Loco Gringo for all these years and one thing I have not yet found ........... someone who is not fabulous to work with. Great people, great owners and a great way to run a business."
--K & DB, Outer Banks, NC,
"I will be bragging about your site to any and all who will listen. Our experience was phenomenal!!!"
"And their amazing website is one of the main reasons we started going regularly to the Riviera Maya and especially Akumal. No other place around the Caribbean has nearly as good a web presence as LG has given this area."
--Dan, St. Louis MO,
"Loco Gringos is the VERY BEST booking site I have ever worked with. They respond to emails promptly, work hard to honor special requests, answer questions etc. They ALWAYS take great care of their customers and are conscientious and professional at all times. We have booked 8 trips with this company and NEVER hesitate to use them or recommend them when traveling to the Riviera Maya."
"Loco Gringo has an AWESOME website with great info, it is lots of fun to visit, be sure to join their forums. The forums hold more information and trip reports than you can 'shake a stick at'!"
"We have been Booking our Riviera Maya vacations from Loco Gringo since 2005. Always Great communication, helpful tips and quick responses to our questions. They were especially helpful when Hurricane Wilma hit and put a stop to our Vacation plans. They made sure we knew about the weather situation and did all the work with re-booking our vacation in Paradise!"
"Go to the home page or check the forum."
"When we use LG to book a trip we get immediate help with all of our questions in a very timely way by people who know what they are talking about and are extremely helpful, patient, knowledgeable, and congenial. They really get how to do customer service.
Once we book through LG we never have to worry about any of it again. We are always amazed at how smooth and trouble free our bookings through LG have been."
--K.B., Fort Worth, TX
"She & her new Husband had a fantastic hassle free trip. This was their very first time to Mexico and her comment upon return was " Dad, 7 days is NOT enough time ! " Super job, LG."
--Bernie in Denver,
"Both in 2011 and this year we have booked our room through Locogringo.com. We searched and found a great rate at the resort we wanted, and then Locogringo met that price, and with their booking came their amazing customer service and the peace of mind that if we need anything while we are there we simply need to call. I always get a fast turnaround on any email I send them, and they work so hard to find us the best rates and the rooms we want. We hope to have a long relationship with them, and recommend their site to everyone we know."
--Tim A and Teri A, Salem, UT
"What an amazing company Locogringo is. Every silly question I have.... they answer , If something comes up like a travel day change, adding more people, or whatever it might be... you get a response from a real person ... who seems to love what they do . That is hard to find these days and I really appreciate that."
"We spent a lot of our time sitting on the second floor porch with our feet propped on the railing just staring at the water. Coming home was hard this year..Staying for two weeks still wasn't long enough."
"We usually need reservations for 2 to 4 people but for 2 years we needed reservations for 7 to 9 people, adults and kids and they have always done a flawless job in getting the resort we wanted and at the best price too!!"
"quick and informative replies from Bart ( thanks Bart) , easy booking procedure plus online management of your booking . I am highly impressed."
--Theressa - Middlesex U.K.,
"It is like having a friend make your reservations for you .... we always feel comfortable knowing LG will be in charge of our arrangements because they know the area first hand, they live there ..... you ask a question and they answer it with good humor and great knowledge of what they speak. I will always recommend Loco Gringo in a heart beat!"
"Not sure if we will be returning next summer, but will definitely let you know if we are, as Loco Gringo is the ONLY way to go for us!"
--Lesley P., Texas
"...for your patience with me and making this process go soooo much smoother! I truly appreciate you and the staff at LocoGringo. Thanks again! I can't wait to be sitting on the beach!
Maggie in Colorado"
"All our Riviera Maya trips have been booked using LocoGringo. We love their service."
"I would recommend Locogringo to everyone I know. It is such a great service that they provide from researching and booking the perfect place to stay to finding all the needs you could possibly want during your stay. Thanks Locogringo."
"I had contacted you before I left for my first trip to Mexico and all of your recommendations were spot on. I started in Playa Del Carmen and worked my way to Tulum. I had only expected to stay 2 nights there and instead wound up staying for a week-and that still was not nearly enough time. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks! I will be checking in with you guys as I am tring to plan a trip to Holbox next. That place looks amazing!"
--Louis Skip Gonzalez, Unidos Magazine
"A company made up mostly of American Expats living in the Riviera Maya with a booking list of many hundreds of properties. Big enough to know each property intimately and small enough to know each customer personally. A level of service simply impossible for the giant companies to provide.
--Jim T., Colorado
"I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU! The trip we booked through Loco Gringo was perfect! The price was exceptionally good and the service was second to none! If you’ve never booked with Loco Gringo before, we *highly* recommend them!"
"So here is a GREAT BIG TEXAS THANK YOU TO LOCO GRINGO for all the awesome, fantastic vacations in Paradise."
"People who “live the area” will want to make sure you enjoy your vacation and come back again!"
"I have booked most of my Mayan Riviera trips through Loco Gringo and can only say I wouldn't even consider using anyone else to handle my bookings for stays in that area.
Their booking process is simple, fast and friendly, and they will answer your questions and queries until you are completely satisfied that every single detail has been taken care of.
Who else would know the area better than folks who live and work right there? Try to get that level of expertise and knowledge with a booking agent who lives and works several hundred, or even thousands of miles away.
Not only that, but they are genuinely nice people as well, who really care for their customers and the community and area that they call home
Keep up the great work Loco Gringo!!"
"You always recommend amazing accommodations and we are always comfortable and feel safe. Your staff does a fantastic job at making our vacation each year a ” hassle free ” experience ! All we have to do is ” show up ” and the rest is already taken care of. We will continue in future to use LocoGringo and also continue as we have done already, to highly recommend your company to anyone we know that is planning a vacation."
--Nancy & Bill, Toronto, Canada
""I was soooo delighted with the Loco Gringo services. Everything was trouble free and all my questions were always answered promptly. Thanks for a GREAT trouble free vacation!""
"Now is a great time to tell you how wonderful you and your staff are at making it so easy to find and book the best vacations, THANK YOU !"
--Joyce & Hugh,
"It's a great comfort to visit the Riviera Maya and know that Loco Gringo is there to help, if needed. "
--Bryan in IN,
"Thanks for everything you have done with Locogringo… the site is great and your staff has been nothing short of incredible when it comes to helping us plan our trips. Maybe we’ll run into you on one of your walks some day."
* Denotes A Required Field
How much are you thinking about spending?