San Cristobal de la Casas narrative
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
I first went to "San Cris" in the summer of 2007, I don't remember much about that trip because it was so long ago, but I do know it was one of my favorite places out of the 30+ places I went to on that backpacking trip through Mexico, Central America and Cuba! I loved everything about it; I loved the weather, the mountain city feel, the strong indigenous culture, the textiles, the artisan markets, the smell of roasted coffee, fresh mountain air and pine trees.
My travel partner Mandy and I were able to stay there for about 9 days, we found a cheap home like hostel and dove deep in to the alternative San Cris culture, learning about the Zapatista movement, going to "revolution" bar at night and hanging out with what can be considered Mexican hippies and a lot of European travelers that were attracted to the Zapatista movement... To be honest I didn't know or care much about that movement at the time but my travel partner was and that's why we ended in Chiapas!
Chiapas was the place that introduced me to the world of textiles and Mayan culture, I spent hours at the artisan market places, not really buying much or anything, but many just touching the textiles, admiring their beauty and learning about their cultural importance amongst the natives of "los altos de Chiapas"
Flash forward, it took me 11 years to return to San Cris, I returned in November of 2018 as soon as I set foot and felt that crisp magical mountain air, I questioned why it had taken me so long to return. It was a bit like re discovering this place, a lot had changed, but slowly I began to orient myself, walking through the streets I began remembering things and places from 2007. This time around I was very much aware of how special this region of Mexico is. I really tuned in to the cultural layers of San Cris, I noticed how the natives spoke a different language that was completely different to spanish, I noticed how the native women dressed and that many wear their traditional garments. I was fascinated by this culture, I felt I was a foreigner in what is somewhat my second home country. I identify my self as culturally Mexican but the native culture in "los altos" de Chiapas was not the Mexico I was familiar with, it was not the Mexico, my family from central Mexico was familiar with and you know what? I loved this feeling, I loved seeing another side of Mexico, I loved feeling the strong native influence, I loved seeing how their cultures has been preserved.
I've been back to Chiapas a few times since 2018, always spending a couple weeks at a time this time as a solo traveler. I've noticed how San Cris has changed over the years and the role it plays in the country. I believe there was more international tourism back in 2007 and believe Chiapas is probably one of the most underrated states in Mexico. I truly believe it's so rich culturally and unlike any other place in the country and genuinely recommend anyone to go,