Mexico/Chiapas: San Cristobal de las Casas

San Cristobal de las Casas is perhaps the most culturally distinct town in Mexico and must see on any Mexico exploration. The town sits at above 6000 feet in elevation in a valley surrounded by mountains. The town was established by the Spanish in 1500s and laid out in a typical grid with a central square, cathedral, cobblestone streets, and tiled-roof houses with large inner yards and balconies. Most of this architecture, if not all, remains to this date. But the real flavor of San Cristobal comes from mostly indigenous Indian population living here and the surrounding mountains and myriad of craft stalls selling all the local stuff everywhere. I actually couldn’t shake off the feeling that this is Cusco in Peru and not Mexico – the town was packed by local women and children selling handicrafts and colorful clothing along the mostly pedestrian streets. Main churches include the Cathedral, Templo de Santo Domingo, Iglesia de San Cristobal, and many others. San Cristobal is also famous for the mountain coffee they grow here and quality coffee shops are almost on every corner. As are streetsellers of bags of macadamia nuts.