Welcome to the magical mountain city of San Cristobal de las Casas. With its beautiful Spanish architecture, cobblestone streets, old churches, and coworking boom, it’s Mexico’s next digital nomad hotspot.
This city is quickly becoming one of the best cities for Digital Nomads in Mexico. With cooler weather than at the coast and a great vibe, many digital nomads and expats are calling it home.
As a smaller city, it’s easier to get around and explore safely. The nightlife is exceptional, and there are great restaurants all around. The cost of living is far more affordable compared to the bigger cities in Mexico.
If you are looking for a digital nomad destination in Mexico, then San Cristobal is at the top of the list. Here is my personal Guide to San Cristobal de las Casas.
If you prefer a video over written content — we’ve got a great one on our YouTube channel that discusses life as a digital nomad in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Cost of living
The cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas is lower than in bigger cities like Mexico City or Guadalajara. Moreover, you’ll get far better value for your money, and a better quality of life too.
I rented an apartment for just $200 per month. With groceries, eating out, coworking, and day trips, you can expect to spend anything from $1000 to $1500 living in San Cris.
When to visit
San Cristobal is at a higher altitude, so overall it’s slightly cooler than anywhere else. Taking that into consideration, the best time to visit is between February and May when things start to heat up.
San Cris is never really too hot, and it’s not too cold either – even in winter. The only thing you should consider is the rain. From May to October, you can expect it to pour down – which may limit your options when exploring.
How to get around
The easiest way to get around in San Cristobal de las Casas is by walking. It’s a relatively small city, so you can easily explore different areas on foot.
If you do need to take a taxi, they are more affordable than anywhere else in Mexico. You can also rent a bicycle or scooter to get around. The traffic isn’t great in San Cris, due to the narrow cobblestone street, so just be careful if you aren’t used to riding in cities.
There are four main neighborhoods for nomads in San Cristobal de las Casas:
Zona Centro is the downtown area where you’ll find a lot of restaurants, bars, and shops. Living here puts you within walking distance of the main square, which houses the stunning Catedral de San Cristóbal de las Casas and the Plaza de la Paz.
Barrio del Cerrillo
Barrio del Cerrillo is located right next to Zona Centro. It has a very nice neighborhood feel. There are good restaurants and shops around this area too, but it isn’t as busy as Zona Centro.
A lot of expats live in Barrio del Cerrillo because it’s quieter than other neighborhoods. But it’s still pretty close to the center of town, making it an ideal location for exploring.
Barrio de la Merced
Barrio de la Merced is situated on the west side of the city. It’s a cute local neighborhood with a lot of Mexican charm. Restaurants and shops are more affordable here, and there are also some great bars in the area.
Barrio de Guadalupe
Barrio de Guadalupe is located on the east side of San Cris, just south of Barrio del Cerrillo. This area is famous for the yellow church that overlooks the city. Take a stroll down Real de Guadalupe to get the perfect Instagram shot.
The internet speed in San Cristobal is pretty fast compared to other cities in Mexico. Thus, most digital nomads will have no problem working from this city.
I tested my internet speed at one point using Google Speedtest, and I was getting around 60Mbps download speeds. Not bad.
There are days when the signal can lag a bit, so best to know where you can find reliable wifi when you need it.
Having lived as a nomad in San Cristobal for some time, I can tell you that not all coworking spaces are created equal. Luckily, there are a few places that live up to my very high standards.
This is one of my favorite coworking spaces in San Cris. Centrally located, you’re about two blocks from the city center. They have a great atmosphere, and nomads love it. You’ll easily meet other nomads you can explore with or share meals.
The wifi here is exceptionally fast. I could upload my videos and have conference calls with ease. There was hardly ever a lag during my time there. While there are a lot of nomads calling this office during the day, you can always find a little nook or cranny to get some privacy. You can also rent a private space if need be.
Oh, and did I mention, tea and coffee are on the house? These guys know how to keep us nomads happy. What’s more, there are secure lockers if you want to store your valuables for a midday break to explore the area.
If crowds aren’t your scene, stay at Co.404 Coliving. Great wifi, and its residents only policy means it’s never busy. I think that would appeal to many, and indeed the vibe there is awesome.
Co.404 is a fairly new coliving space, which has a lot of advantages. So far, the reviews have been great – fast wifi, great atmosphere and team, and awesome location.
Nomadas Digitales Cowork
While the other coworking spaces have more of an international crew, Nomadas Cowork is all about being local. You’ll find a good mix of international and local nomads / remote workers here.
There’s also a lovely courtyard where you can take a break and read a book in a hammock.
Something unique that they offer is wellness programs. Take a break and enjoy a massage or a Body Psychotherapy session.
Day trips and tours
There are a lot of great tours and activities you can do in and around San Cristobal de las Casas. The city has a lot of great historical attractions, and it’s also close to Palenque and other popular tourist destinations.
Furthermore, the hikes around the city are both beautiful and educational. I’ve listed a few of my top activities below:
Bike Tours Pinguinos
There are a few different bike tours that you can do in San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas. You can also do a mountain bike tour or a city bike tour – both are great.
Depending on the tour you choose, you could get a guide that can tell you about the history of San Cris during your ride. I highly recommend getting a guide, as they really enrich the experience. Helps to not get lost either.
There are some beautiful hikes around San Cris. If you are looking to get off the beaten path, slower hikes are a great way to explore the natural beauty of Mexico.
Day Trip To Palenque
Palenque is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico because of the Mayan ruins that were rediscovered in the 1950s. There are also other attractions in the area you won’t want to miss. From natural turquoise pools to waterfalls, and wildlife sanctuaries – there’s a lot to experience.
You can plan this weekend trip by yourself, but if you have limited time then I would recommend doing it with a tour company. This way you won’t miss anything along your journey — like the hidden waterfalls!
Sumidero Canyon Tour
The Sumidero Canyon, or Canyon of the Sumidero, is a section of the Parc Nacional Canon del Sumidero. This national park consists of 50,000 acres – and the scale of Sumidero Canyon will take your breath away! Make sure you book a trip that includes a boat ride, the miradores, and Chiapa de Corzo.
Coffee Plantation Tour
I love coffee, so seeing the local artisans hand-pick the beans and prepare them right in front of my eyes was a great experience.
There are a few different coffee plantation tours that you can take in the area. I did the Yaxchilan coffee plantation tour, and it was by far one of my favorite things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas Chiapas.
It takes quite a while to get to these coffee plantations. Keep that in mind if you have limited time. This tour takes quite a few hours.
Check out my video on the experience:
Muay Thai in San Cristobal
I started Muay Thai while I was living in Thailand. Since then, I’ve tried to continue my training while traveling and working remotely. Luckily, there is an amazing Muay Thai gym in San Cris called Nova Geraçao.
This gym has some truly amazing trainers. Enrique Granados Farrera and Karina Quiroz López are true professionals who know what they’re doing. This makes this gym a great place for anyone that wants to learn Muay Thai and work with good trainers. It’s more than just staying fit, it’s an experience.
It’s important to find an active hobby that you can practice around the world. Other popular options include Capoeira, Chi Gong, or Taekwondo.
Yoga in San Cristobal Mexico
There are a few different yoga studios around San Cristobal de las Casas. I personally enjoyed the Ananda Healing Center and Yoga with Michel.
At the Ananda Healing Center, you’ll be able to take classes with different teachers, as well as a variety of different styles.
A nomad himself, Yoga with Michel focuses on merging functional movement patterns and classical yoga postures into a harmonizing flow. I highly recommend that you check out his site, his story is fascinating.
There are some great restaurants in San Cristobal de las Casas. The prices are fair and for the most part more affordable than in other areas of the country.
To get the best food, you might want to avoid the more touristic areas and head for the backstreets to eat where the locals do.
San Cristobal has a variety of restaurants on offer. I’ve listed some of my favorites below, including a few vegan options and those with wifi.
- Te Quiero Verde: gourmet vegan. I love this place!
- La Casa del Pan Papalotl: great restaurant with the freshest bread and vegan options.
- Bek’: vegan restaurant with the best smoothie takeaways.
- Amor Negro Café: one of my favorite cafes to work at in San Cris. It has the best organic coffee and the space is welcoming.
- Cafeología: a hip little cafe with excellent coffee. If you get the opportunity, join one of the coffee classes.
- Frontera Cafe: one of my favorite early morning coffee places.
- Tok Tok Wok: a hole-in-the-wall, cook-to-order, Asian fusion place. For less than 5 USD you’ll be full of fresh, delicious, wok stir-fry.
- La Viña De Bacco: best wine in town and the free tapas that compliment the wine are delicious. Great experience overall.
An article about San Cristobal would be incomplete without mentioning the markets.
In this area, traditional markets are an essential part of indigenous culture because of their historical significance. They offer a vibrant example of this exciting market culture of Chiapas.
With colorful fruit stands, mountains of chili peppers, and rows of leather crafts, this experience is a must on your trip to San Cris.
So, is San Cristobal for nomads?
Yes, definitely! Having lived here for a few months, I can say that with confidence. It is the perfect mix of comfort and culture. Lots of nomads are now seeing the value of exploring the less touristic central areas of Mexico.
I hope you found this guide valuable. I also hope that the next time you book a trip to Mexico, San Cristobal will be at the top of your to-do list.
Remember to check out my YouTube channel for more digital nomad guides and resources. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop them in the comments.
Written for Lost & Lore by Trevor Carlson
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