An 11 hour overnight bus from Oaxaca brought us into San Cristobal de las Casas in the region of Chiapas. The journey saved us a night’s accommodation but did not provide us with the best night’s sleep, due not to the coach itself but rather a combination of an over zealous coach driver and tight mountainous roads. Still if you can get even a few hours sleep it will see you through until you check in and save you some cash.
We had managed to pre-book at the Leon de Jovel hostel, situated on a quiet corner 2 minutes from the center, but as soon as we stepped out of the bus terminal we were greeted by numerous hostel reps. Guess this is the plus side of travelling during low season.
San Cristobal itself is set high up in the mountains, which is part of its appeal, and the weather can vary a great deal, from warm sunny days to very cold nights. Which we discovered on the second night when we needed to unpack our winter gear!
The town itself has a very laid back charm and feels welcoming and homely, so much so that our initial 3 day stay has now extended to a week. The hostel definitely helps to create this atmosphere as many of the people here are residents, from teachers to arts and crafts sellers.
Another bonus for us is an excellent vegetarian restaurant virtually on our doorstep. The Parvati, is a small tucked away gem with both dish of the day and a set menu, but for us the portion sizes and prices just don’t seem to add up.
The first time we ate there we ended up over ordering by adding the not so small side of guacamole, yet the total bill with drinks came in at just over £7 for the both of us!
Needless to say we have been back.
San Cristobal is the sort of place that in high season would probably be full of tourists, as the center does seem ready to cater to that, but in low season the town is relaxed, the markets are bustling and the plazas have bands playing music whilst people enjoy a fresh coffee in the sun.