Laid-back San Cristóbal de las Casas is nestled in a fertile valley in the south-east of Mexico, amid pine forests, traditional farmland and mountains (best appreciated from the lookout at Templo de San Cristobal). Its atmospheric narrow cobbled streets are lined with colourful facades and beautiful colonial architecture, with Baroque and Moorish influences visible in the cathedral. The town is close to several traditional hillside villages in which indigenous customs and crafts are feircely defended, these can be visited in short trips, or alternatively you can look out for their inhabitants when they come to San Cristóbal to sell their handicrafts in the colourful market.
Around 40 miles west is the dramatic Sumidero Canyon, carved by the mighty Rio Grijalva. A series of viewpoints allow you to contemplate the spectacular scenery whilst boat trips take you to the heart of the canyon. Here are mysterious caves and beautiful waterfalls, as well as an abundance of wildlife including monkeys, birds and crocodiles. The most bizarre sight however, is the Arbol de Navidad (Christmas Tree) which emerges from the cliff-face and is doused in a small waterfall. The resemblance is uncanny.
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