Or simply known as San Cristobal, or in my post, SC, is a really lovely town tucked in the mountains. My favorite aspect of the town is that like many other mountain cities, it has mountain weather: hot when the sun is up and cold when the sun isn’t. After so many days in the jungle and the Mexican Caribbeans sweating bullets every night going to sleep, the chilling temperature of 6 degrees Celsius at night is a welcoming sensation.
I left Tuxtla at noon going through a mountain pass to SC. The ride takes an hour and by this point my sickness had gone and I’m quite rejuvenated. Arriving at the town was easy, and finding a place to sleep was even easier, a great convenience since the Tulum incident. On the outskirts of the town, I saw many people dressed in some traditional garments with the like of dress I saw in the cities of the Quilotoa loop convened together as if there is an event. In the city, more such dressed people walked around. I learned they are the people from the nearby Mayan villages such as Chamula.
The city is of medium size, narrow streets full of cars, and high narrow stone sidewalks. The side walks only allow one person to walk on it at the same time, and the street is often full of cars stuck in traffic. There really isn’t any traffic sign, but the streets are so narrow that cars don’t get any momentum to cause accidents. I wonder quite often why people don’t just walk everywhere because walking is a faster and more efficient method in this town.
Maybe they simply just wanted to drive and own cars. I have seen someone put gullwing doors and 3.8L engines on their volkswagon beetle. It was quite a sight.
On my short walk the first day, I noticed many trash on the street, colorful buildings, and many many churches. Actually there are so many churches in such a small town, its kind of ridiculous. Many travelers come from Guatemala or going to Guatemala from here. I noticed many people have dreads, and are some sort of hippie looking. I guess this type of town attracts the hipsters just like Cancun attracts the party goers.
I spent the rest of the day sleeping because I felt I should get another day of rest.
The next day I learned more about the town. You can go on many excursions, but alot of them involves many hours of bussing back and forth. I felt at this point of my travel I can pass up on the 6 hours round trip to a waterfall. I have seen so many waterfalls that if it’s that inconvenient, no thanks. There are even more ridiculous trips that just makes absolutely no sense. However, I have always know about the canon del Sumidero, a canon between Tuxtla and SC. I have seen the pictures and it is a beauty. It is also only 40 minutes away and that’s the only excursion on my must do list. I have became more chill and easy going in my travels. I rather enjoy my time other than having to fill my day with activities that make no sense.
I spent my second day waiting for my laundry since most of my clothes smells like mosquito repellent. The cleaning lady told me get it at 2 and at 2, get it at 5. And of course at 5, it will be in the dryer for 30 more minutes. Well, I didn’t really waster those time. I walked to every church and went to a free botanic garden. The botanic garden is small and quite chic with flowers salvaged by a dude and its his own private collection called Moxviquil. I wanted to ask someone why in SC, because the night gets quite chilly but there weren’t anyone because it was a holiday.
Oh and I forgot, it seems like, everyday is a holiday out here. Of the four days I spent in SC, 3 of them are holidays. Of course holidays include music blasting, cheap fireworks and the church bell going off every 5 minutes for 100 times before 8AM like the alarm I set for myself on a work day. It is crazy, I thought people don’t wake up on holidays. This day, the holiday is day of the kings, the day when the three magi came with gift for the baby Jesus. They gave out toys to the kids on this day.
Anyways, back to my day. After the garden, I found a trail up the mountain behind it. I thought it would lead me to a spot with a clandestine view of the city, but its just trees everywhere and a clearing. I ventured around a bit and found a sealed cave too. The trail goes around the mountain and gets you back to the beginning without giving you a view of the city at all. At least it was a good exercise.
I was glad I can finally drink beer after tow days of diarrhea. Loaded up with some tecate, I went to sleep pretty content.
Next day I woke up with full intention to finally go to the canyon. Canon del Sumidero is a must go spot for me. I have seen pictures who have taken the boat trip through the canyon, it looks like what baiting through Cambodia would look like. I also have intention of doing some hiking up the canyon and get a aerial view of the spot. I believe that it is the low season so taking a tour would be cheaper than going solo. However a tour won’t allow me to explore so I took a colectivo back to Tuxtla but asked them to drop me off at the canyon.
The boat ride was pretty phenomenal, alot better than I hoped. The scenery is as unreal as the pictures, but there are also crocodiles and birds chilling everywhere. One thing that is disturbing is how much trash is floating around in the canyon. The boat driver says people throws trash down the river from the other side and they flow down stream. However, there are trash boats going around collecting the trash floating around. Actually, there is only one boat, and tons of trash.
The end of the canyon is of course a hydroelectric dam. At the dam, some kid was selling food and water and beer. I felt I was missing something the whole boat ride and beer was it. I got some modelos from the kid and the return ride became a reminiscent of riding the boat down the embalse del Penon back in Colombia.
The boat ride was pretty long too. It took about 2 hours and half with many stops at important places like the Christmas tree fall, crocodiles chilling, and rock bank where birds chill. The Christmas tree fall is pretty cool, there was no water at the moment, but the stone formation along with algae growth made the fall look like a Christmas tree. I also saw some spider monkeys on some trees in the canyon.
After the boat ride, I set out to go up the canyon. The canyon entrance is on the other side of the freeway, or at least I thought. It wasn’t, there was no trail, no visible path to get on the canyon. I had to go into a town and make it till the end of the town to find a trail. However, that only access the lower region of the canyon. The higher cliffs belong way further down. The boat ride took almost 3 hours so the region is really long. At the time, I had a bottle of water in my backpack and it was pretty late. I abandoned my trek in order to catch my colectivo back to SC.
On the way back, a truck rear ended the colectivo van. Then a car rear ended a truck and again. No one was hurt, but police came and it became a process. However all the passengers were put on another colectivo and didn’t had to pay. So I guess my trip came out cheap anyways.
Some of the other guys try to do a 3 hour bus trip to a waterfall which I refused to go. Turned out they didn’t go and went a nearby cave instead. So I was a bit glad I made the right decision.
The last day in SC, there was supposed to be a large festival, another holiday, at a nearby town Chiapas del Corzo. It celebrates a woman who always gave food to the town. When her son got sick, the town gave back. From pictures, everyone wears mask and dress in their Mayan village look and just gather. I heard in a area of the town, free food is given out. However, I had heard many different things about this. The starting time, 7PM or noon? Food or no food?
Well, I didn’t go because I was leaving that night. I also didn’t go because I’m claustrophobic. Instead, I went around town, ate, chill and even went to a gym for 20 pesos. I haven’t been to a gym for a while, and I had a decent leg day. I hate going to the gym, but even that was fun.
I finally downloaded the ADO app, because you can buy bus fares at half off online. However, the online page only accepts Mexican credit cards, but the app accepts all. So, I got my ticket and went on another overnight bus hotel.