My first night in San Cristobal de Las Casas I stayed in a basic dorm room. The next day I lugged my bag over to B & B Le Gite Del Sol. I highly recommend this B & B/ Hostel. The hostel is spotless, the beds are comfortable and the staff and owners are nice and friendly. They also included a tasty breakfast, free wi-fi and the use of a computer and kitchen facilities. The hostel is conveniently located, a 5 minute walk from the main tourist street. There are actually two locations within one block of each other. The friendly owners can help you with bus tickets and reliable bus information. It can get cold during the night in San Cristobal so it is important to have thick blankets and this hostel passes that test as well. While the basic rooms are somewhat spartan, I still feel the hostel is a good value, especially if you are splitting the costs of a room.
In San Cristobal de Las Casas the international influence is undeniable. There is an interesting mix of artistic, indigenous, progressive, and cosmopolitan influences balanced throughout the city. Despite the dominance of tourism on the local landscape the resulting ambience of the place is not tacky or lacking culture. Much of the pleasure of wandering around the tourist center of town is provided by walking the long pedestrian-only portions of the streets. Another feature of the city is the wide array of international cuisine on offer: Thai, Italian, Argentinian, Lebanese, Japanese, and more. In addition, cafes and restaurants feature live music throughout the city, especially Thursday through Saturday night. With several museums around and a few day trips just outside the city it is an easy place to find yourself extending your stay. Unfortunately I stayed longer than planned because of a bout with Montezuma’s Revenge, but even that calamity didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for San Cristobal. Continue reading
Before I had arrived in Mexico I had never heard of Oaxaca. As I started to plan for my next destination from Mexico City I settled on Oaxaca. From what I read I was expecting a much slower paced city than the capital and I was not disappointed in what I experienced. Immediately after strapping my backpack on as I left the bus station I felt a difference in the air. As I continued walking towards the center of town I came across a park and noticed a lot more people sitting and relaxing than in the hurried streets of Mexico City. After the overwhelming capital it was quickly clear to see that Oaxaca was going to be a needed change of pace. As I saw more and more people relaxing in the park and less traffic passing by me on the streets I could feel my breathing slow down and I began to realize how hurried I had become in my 8 days in Mexico City.
Settling into the hostel after a mile long walk I accepted my roommate’s invitation to dinner with a happy bunch from the hostel. A night of laughter and wine amongst new acquaintances led to a late morning walk to Santo Domingo Church and across an interesting outdoor art exhibit, 2501 Immigrants. The display contained 2501 small ceramic people standing on sides of the street in front of the famous church. The figures represent people who had left there villages to go to the United States. It took several years to complete the work and over 25 people from the artist’s village helped in it’s completion.