When I told people in other parts of Mexico that I was going to the state of Chiapas, many told me it was a paradise on earth. It’s hard to disagree. There are lots of pictures below that try to capture the sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and feelings here, but it’s really impossible to do so. You have to be here to experience it.
Chiapas is at the bottom of Mexico, bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Guatemala. It is by far the most touristy place I have been in Mexico. Many people told me Southern Mexico is like another country. Maybe you have to be Mexican to understand the subtleties that make it so different. But yes, the people look different as Chiapas is home to one of the highest indigenous populations in Mexico.
San Cristobal is surrounded by mountains and the view is often breathtaking no matter where you are in the city. The weather is tropical, but can change rapidly without much warning. There are many fruits and vegetables here I had never seen before and I don’t understand how palm trees, bananas, pine trees, cacti can all grow in the same area. It makes for wonderful scenery though!
There are plenty of churches, museums, and things to do here to keep you busy. I guess that’s why there are so many tourists here – far more than I saw in the other parts of Mexico I visited.
There are many beautifully painted houses and buildings here. There are rich blues, pinks, reds, etc. I’m not crazy about art, but I can appreciate how the color here makes a walk down the street more enjoyable.
When I travel I always visit the local markets. You can get an idea of what life is like for the local people and what kinds of things they eat and buy.
There is an artisan market just in front of Templo de Santo Domingo. Lots of clothing and handcrafts are sold there. Again, it’s very colorful and a walk through this market is a feast for the eyes. Most of the art is made by hand by the local indigenous population. However, there are also foreigners who have set up shop designing their own blend of artistic goods.
At the Central Market, lots of fruits, vegetables, meats, and household goods are for sale. One thing that caught me off guard was seeing raw chickens out for sale – with their separated heads also available for sale. Apparently the heads (minus the beak) are used to make a soup broth. Otherwise, there are a lot of fruits and vegetables here that I had never seen before. Here are some examples.
Chiapas is home to a large indigenous population. I find them fascinating. There are several groups here and each has its own culture, traditions, language, etc.
One of the most noticeable things is how they carry their babies. They use a cloth they fasten into a sling. I guess the knot is really strong. Bigger kids are typically carried in the back, while smaller babies are typically carried in the front and are often seen breastfeeding in public.
The clothes they wear are beautiful and vibrant. Below are some examples.
Admittedly, I don’t know much about the indigenous communities here or in Central America. But in Honduras I will be volunteering at a co-op serving the indigenous Maya community there.
Day Trip Outside The City
Lastly, we took a trip outside the city. Unfortunately, I was in the back seat and the tinted windows didn’t allow me to take pictures on the road. But the scenery was absolutely stunning. Maybe it’s because I love mountains, but I was transfixed by the landscape passing by. I’m looking forward to seeing the same scenes as I head south to Guatemala later this week.
I have to mention the Zapatistas. You can read more about them here and see one of their slogans in the picture below. There is much to say about them, but I’m still learning about them. Nevertheless, their presence is felt here and I think there is pride here in what they’ve been able to accomplish.