The city has become a renowned tourist location for its preserved colonial architecture, red clay tiled roofs, and retention of indigenous culture and traditions. Many residents of the city wear indigenous clothing and walk the streets selling woven shawls and hand stitched shirts.
The city sits in a small valley surrounded by hills. It is really lovely and we walk around and try to get out of the tourists streets. Buildings are painted all kinds of colors. From the we can not see the devastation of the surrounding land from jade and amber strip mining, deforestation and poor resource management.
The hills are full of history. On the day NAFTA was signed back in 1994, the famous Zapatista occupation of San Critobal de las Casas and other Chiapas communities took place. This has spurred some cult tourism, attracting people with leftist political leanings and those interested in supporting indigenous cultures and social justice.
We visit Casa Na-Bolom the former home of archeologist Frans Blom and Gertrude Duby, a documentary photographer, journalist, environmental pioneer, and jungle adventurer. It is in a museum and research center dedicated to the protection of the Lacandon Maya and the preservation of the Chiapas rain forest.
We visit the the indigenous market that is absolutely packed with color. I fall in love all over again with all the colorful woven and hand stitched crafts and the small Zapatista dolls. I purchase a beautiful hand stitched hanging from two lovely women that press a pretty hard deal.
We visit the local food market. I love taking pictures of the market stalls but when I took this one, I got yelled at by an old women. I have no idea what these dried plants are. I found them beautiful and meant no disrespect. It’s possible they are medicinal plants.
Time to move on. Next Stop: Vamos a la playa, 82 degrees and sunny.