The "Casa Vieja Hotel" gardens
San Cristobal de las Casas
by Philippe Faucon

San Cristóbal de las Casas is the second largest city in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.  It is considered by many as the heart of that state. 

We arrived by car, from Oaxaca a late October afternoon. 

A 400 years old city, San Cristobal still looks like a colonial center with its old buildings and churches.  It is a mountain town and the general atmosphere is more something that I would have associated with some place in the Andes rather than sunny Mexico.

Chiapas is one of the Mexican states with the largest percentage of natives. Many of them come to town to sell their ware and the colorful outfits they wear vary depending on which village they are coming from.

Local indian women from Chiapas are known for the very high quality of their embroidering.  Their wares are sent all across Mexico, but the handicraft market is a great place to go shopping.

The local food market is a colorful display of local fruits and vegetables as well as more of the Indian farmers selling the local production.

The temperatures in San Cristobal are cool all year around with in summer average highs of 73F (22C) and lows of 45F (7C), while in winter highs of 68F (20C) and lows of 41F (5C).  You definitely need a sweater in the evenings...

This is an ideal climate to grow flowers in makeshift greenhouses that cover the sides of some valleys.  The local market has nice selections of cut flowers.

The hotel "La Casa Vieja" is a reasonably priced hotel, a few block from the center.  The rooms are comfortable, the bathrooms are nice and clean.  Although it was selected on the recommendation of a few friend we were quite happy of what we found when we arrived. The bedrooms were cute with a definite mountain atmosphere.

The hotel is organized as a serie of courtyard, each with a particular theme.  A lot of plants, often seen in apartments seem to relish the climate.

This well is not really used, it is just the centerpiece of the courtyard where our room was located.

Shady areas are a great place for local ferns..

This Monstera deliciosa.  It was lush and covered with flowers and fruit.  It didn't seem to mind several hours of full sun a day.



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