San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Indigenous Business
Mayan sellers and buyers in the city's municipal market.
Emiliano Zapata
A sign from one of the Zapatista establishments in San Cristóbal pays homage to Emiliano Zapata, a historic revolutionary who became a Mexican idol.
Under the weight of Catholicism
Natives at one of the many churches in the magical pueblo.
Long live Zapata!
Sign of one of the Zapatista establishments in San Cristóbal.
plush robes
Indigenous in typical costume of San Juan Chamula, a neighboring town known for the autonomist fusion it created of indigenous beliefs and Catholicism.
Grease & Hats
Shoe shiners shine the shoes and boots of the inhabitants of San Cristóbal de las Casas.
people from cristobalense
Passersby walk along a street behind the cathedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
a mobile faith
Devotee carries a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe during times of pilgrimage in her honor.
a traveling storefront
Mayan saleswoman loaded with her colorful merchandise.
Family Sales
Mayan women craft sellers.
Group of Mayan women aware of the approach of the police that does not allow street vendors in San Cristobal.
"Here, the Pueblo orders"
A sign on a road in Chiapas announces the entry into Zapatista and rebel territory.
In the yellow heart of San Cristobal
Passersby from San Cristobal de Las Casas cross in front of the city's centuries-old cathedral.
Passersby walk along a street behind the cathedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.
Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.

It is by far one of the main hallmarks of the town and there was no way to escape it. “Señores, don't you even want a pulseritas?"

Wherever we went, small squads of Mayan saleswomen followed us or appeared out of nowhere determined to earn a few more pesos.

"Miren, we have all colors!” and stretched out their short arms, overloaded with hammocks, ribbons, bags and so many other pieces of handicraft with bright patterns in the same style. Sometimes, even with infants in arms.

Mayan women craft sellers.

These short women, with long black hair braided like the fabrics they produce, golden skins and slightly almond-shaped eyes arrived very early, on foot or in the old folkloric buses that served the route between the most distant villages and the city.

They were Tzotzil or Tzeltal Mayans, the predominant sub-ethnic groups in those highlands (above 2000 meters in altitude) of the Mexican province of Chiapas, where together they have more than eight hundred thousand elements.

Entire families of natives give life to the municipal market where, in addition to handicrafts, they sell a little of everything, both to the haggling inhabitants of the region and to curious outsiders who search the stalls in search of souvenirs.

In addition, the favorite places of the Mayan street vendors are the always busy front of the Cathedral of San Cristobal and the Zócalo, in this case, a verdant park that they roam with an eye on the local police that prohibits them from selling outside the market.

Group of Mayan women aware of the approach of the police that does not allow street vendors in San Cristobal.

The Arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors and the Persisting Indigenous Oppression

Half a millennium has passed since the Spanish invaders settled in these parts, after the conqueror Diego de Mazariegos defeated several Mayan subgroups and installed a fort that allowed it to resist counterattacks.

Even if not as disrespectful as then, we quickly find that the indigenous people are not properly loved by a large part of the white and even mestizo population of the city.

plush robes

Indigenous in typical costume of San Juan Chamula, a neighboring town known for the autonomist fusion it created of indigenous beliefs and Catholicism.

Although most speak Spanish as a second language, we rarely see them in dialogue with their residents.

people from cristobalense

Passersby walk along a street behind the cathedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

On the contrary, we even hear conversations like these where they continue to belittle them as human beings.

Similar to what happened in so many other parts of the Americas, with colonization, came pillage and exploitation.

In the Chiapas region, Spanish citizens amassed fortunes, mainly from the production of wheat. Cultivated land was all confiscated from the natives.

In return, they would be taxed, forced labor, taxed, and newly brought in from the Old World.

This oppression continued for centuries, despite the resistance it came to encounter.

San Cristobal resident walks in front of an arched doorway in the city.

Bartolomeu de Las Casas, a Strong Defender of the Mayan Indigenous People

Dominican monks arrived in the region in 1545 and made San Cristobal their operational base. The name of the city was extended in honor of one of them, Bartolomé de Las Casas, now appointed Bishop of Chiapas.

De Las Casas became the most notorious Spanish defender of the indigenous peoples of the colonial era. In recent times, a bishop named Samuel Ruiz has followed in Las Casas' footsteps.

It deserved the repudiation and hostility of the ruling and financial elite of Chiapas.

Ruiz eventually retired safe and sound in 1999 after many years in office. He died in 2011.

The social-political interventions that won him several awards from international institutions for peace, including the UNESCO, there were several.

Today, San Cristobal is part of this organization's Creative Cities Network. Ciudad Creativa de la Artesanía y Arte Popular was decreed.

a mobile faith

Devotee carries a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe during times of pilgrimage in her honor.

There were frequent mediations of the conflict between the Mexican Federal Government and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN).

The Emergency of the Zapatista Army

Two decades of resentment and activism later, in 1994, the EZLN began operating from the Lacándon jungle, in the province's lowlands, the day the NAFTA Treaty (North American Free Trade Agreement) entered into force.

Even without the military interventions of the past, it preserves its structure.

A few days earlier, as we traveled up the luxuriant mountain along the winding road that links Tuxtla Gutiérrez – the present-day capital of Chiapas – to San Cristóbal, small tolls imposed on the vehicles followed with simple ropes stretched by villagers, sometimes children, of both sides of the road.

"This is local taxes!" Edgardo Coello explains to us, the driver and guide who had been showing those places to outsiders for a long time. The government's money does not reach them and they charge the fees they think are due to passersby.

Long live Zapata!

Sign of one of the Zapatista establishments in San Cristóbal.

I don't mind dropping a few pesos from time to time, but when I think they're too followed and opportunistic, then I just don't stop.

It never happened to me to take anyone with me, but I've been told stories of one or another rocambolesque incident with the porters, on account of not reacting in time!"

A few kilometers onwards and upwards, at night, the official authorities stop us with machine guns in tow. They investigate the jeep and passengers judiciously. "And why are you spending the night already?" wants to know one of the federal military who intrigues the late hour for the habits of local guides.

Edgardo foists some logistical explanation on him and gets permission for us to proceed. Shortly after, we reached the entrance to a poorly lit village.

With the reinforcement of the jeep's headlights, we detected a rudimentary and aged wooden sign that advertises: “It is usted in Zapatista territory in rebellion. Here el Pueblo commands and el gobierno obeys."

A sign on a road in Chiapas announces the entry into Zapatista and rebel territory.

And the Zapatismo that still reigns in Chiapas

In few places in Mexico this proclamation made as much sense as in Chiapas. In the southernmost state of the country, the Zapatistas proved to be almost entirely native.

This was not the case of the emblematic and holographic Subcomandante Marcos, who a little over a year ago published a letter in which he confessed to actually being Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Inspired by the figure of the national-revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata, Zapatism synthesized traditional Mayan practices with libertarian elements of socialism, anarchism and Marxism against neo-liberal and pro-globalization savagery.

Emiliano Zapata

A sign from one of the Zapatista establishments in San Cristóbal pays homage to Emiliano Zapata, a historic revolutionary who became a Mexican idol.

Armed with its ideology, machine guns and the density of the Lácandon jungle, the EZLN sought to return to the indigenous peoples control of their land and raw materials, with all their strength and despite the low chances of success.

Subcomandante Marcos – Insurgente Galeano, by the way – was shot down in May 2014 in an ambush carried out by paramilitaries. With his death, the EZLN gained indigenous leadership and reinforced the worldwide notoriety it had already achieved.

Conventional Tourism in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

In San Cristóbal, in particular, he relaunched the phenomenon of Zapaturism.

Next Magic Town – that's what the Mexicans call it – it's the stunning colonial architecture that starts to stand out.

We are impressed by the beauty of the city's cathedral, in particular its Baroque and XNUMXth-century façade, which the sun fades over the horizon and turns yellow throughout the afternoon, when dozens of residents use the cross in front of them as a meeting point.

Passersby from San Cristobal de Las Casas cross in front of the city's centuries-old cathedral.

Another equally baroque and even more elaborate church that enchants us is the Temple of São Domingo, all decorated in filigree of stucco.

We climb the countless steps that lead to the top of the hills of San Cristóbal and de Our Lady of Guadeloupe and we admire the colorful Hispanic houses on the ground floor and full of interior patios that make up the city.

A street full of shops that leads to the top of the Church of Nª Srª de Guadalupe.

We also explore the Na Bolom house-museum, which studies and supports the indigenous cultures of Chiapas.

Thousands of outsiders, like us, are fascinated by these most obvious attractions every year.

And the phenomenon of Zapaturism in Chiapas

However, after the years of heated conflict (1994-1997) that greatly hampered the arrival of visitors, today, the old capital of the province attracts a good number of Zapatismo supporters and international activists.

They settle in cheap inns to debate and conspire in bars, restaurants and craft centers or combinations of all, baptized as “Revolution” and with other names like that.

These places are assumed now without fear. Ernesto Ledesma, psychologist and owner of the Tierra Adentro restaurant – one of the most emblematic – who works with two Zapatista cooperatives, the “Brigade women by Dignity" and the "Calzado Factory 1 of January” explains that Zapatista tourists fall into two categories.

Grease & Hats

Shoe shiners shine the shoes and boots of the inhabitants of San Cristóbal de las Casas.

“Some are interested in taking pictures with Zapatistas and following their itinerary through renowned historical and natural attractions.

Or, wherever it may be, through Zapatour, the route that, in 2001, took the Zapatistas through twelve Mexican states to place the indigenous question at the center of the national political debate.

The others, we shouldn't even call them tourists. They share a real social and political interest. They are interested in learning and collaborating with the cause. San Cristóbal de Las Casas benefited greatly from the notoriety gained by Zapatismo.

Even more so with the proliferation of these two classes of visitors. Chiapas, has always been forgotten by the government.

Without really knowing how, the Deputy Commander Marcos it was the best public relations we could have had.”

Izamal, Mexico

The Holy, Yellow and Beautiful Mexican City

Until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, Izamal was a center of worship for the supreme Mayan god Itzamná and Kinich Kakmó, the one of the sun. Gradually, the invaders razed the various pyramids of the natives. In its place, they built a large Franciscan convent and a prolific colonial houses, with the same solar tone in which the now Catholic city shines.
Overall, Mexico

The Most Caribbean of the Mayan Ruins

Built by the sea as an exceptional outpost decisive for the prosperity of the Mayan nation, Tulum was one of its last cities to succumb to Hispanic occupation. At the end of the XNUMXth century, its inhabitants abandoned it to time and to an impeccable coastline of the Yucatan peninsula.
Mérida, Mexico

The Most Exuberant of Meridas

In 25 BC, the Romans founded Emerita Augusta, capital of Lusitania. The Spanish expansion generated three other Méridas in the world. Of the four, the Yucatan capital is the most colorful and lively, resplendent with Hispanic colonial heritage and multi-ethnic life.
Cobá to Pac Chen, Mexico

From the Ruins to the Mayan Homes

On the Yucatan Peninsula, the history of the second largest indigenous Mexican people is intertwined with their daily lives and merges with modernity. In Cobá, we went from the top of one of its ancient pyramids to the heart of a village of our times.
Campeche, Mexico

A Bingo so playful that you play with puppets

On Friday nights, a group of ladies occupy tables at Independencia Park and bet on trifles. The tiniest prizes come out to them in combinations of cats, hearts, comets, maracas and other icons.

Mexico City, Mexico

mexican soul

With more than 20 million inhabitants in a vast metropolitan area, this megalopolis marks, from its heart of zócalo, the spiritual pulse of a nation that has always been vulnerable and dramatic.

San Cristóbal de las Casas a Campeche, Mexico

A Relay of Faith

The Catholic equivalent of Our Lady of Fátima, Our Lady of Guadalupe moves and moves Mexico. Its faithful cross the country's roads, determined to bring the proof of their faith to the patroness of the Americas.
Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Sculptural Garden, Edward James, Xilitla, Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Cobra dos Pecados
Architecture & Design
Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Edward James' Mexican Delirium

In the rainforest of Xilitla, the restless mind of poet Edward James has twinned an eccentric home garden. Today, Xilitla is lauded as an Eden of the Surreal.
Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel

Altitude Sickness: the Grievances of Getting Mountain Sick

When traveling, it happens that we find ourselves confronted with the lack of time to explore a place as unmissable as it is high. Medicine and previous experiences with Altitude Evil dictate that we should not risk ascending in a hurry.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Naghol: Bungee Jumping without Modern Touches

At Pentecost, in their late teens, young people launch themselves from a tower with only lianas tied to their ankles. Bungee cords and harnesses are inappropriate fussiness from initiation to adulthood.
Kolmanskop, Namib Desert, Namibia
Kolmanskop, Namíbia

Generated by the Diamonds of Namibe, Abandoned to its Sands

It was the discovery of a bountiful diamond field in 1908 that gave rise to the foundation and surreal opulence of Kolmanskop. Less than 50 years later, gemstones have run out. The inhabitants left the village to the desert.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Kigurumi Satoko, Hachiman Temple, Ogimashi, Japan
Ogimashi, Japan

An Historical-Virtual Japan

"Higurashi no Naku Koro never” was a highly successful Japanese animation and computer game series. In Ogimashi, Shirakawa-Go village, we live with a group of kigurumi of their characters.
Swimming, Western Australia, Aussie Style, Sun rising in the eyes
Busselton, Australia

2000 meters in Aussie Style

In 1853, Busselton was equipped with one of the longest pontoons in the world. World. When the structure collapsed, the residents decided to turn the problem around. Since 1996 they have been doing it every year. Swimming.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

Photography of Nha Terra São Nicolau

The voice of the late Cesária Verde crystallized the feeling of Cape Verdeans who were forced to leave their island. who visits São Nicolau or, wherever it may be, admires images that illustrate it well, understands why its people proudly and forever call it their land.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

One of the tallest buildings in Valletta, Malta
Valletta, Malta

An ex-Humble Amazing Capital

At the time of its foundation, the Order of Knights Hospitaller called it "the most humble". Over the centuries, the title ceased to serve him. In 2018, Valletta was the tiniest European Capital of Culture ever and one of the most steeped in history and dazzling in memory.
Zanzibar, African islands, spices, Tanzania, dhow
Zanzibar, Tanzania

The African Spice Islands

Vasco da Gama opened the Indian Ocean to the Portuguese empire. In the XNUMXth century, the Zanzibar archipelago became the largest producer of cloves and the available spices diversified, as did the people who disputed them.
ala juumajarvi lake, oulanka national park, finland
Winter White
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal
Ponta de Sao Lourenco, Madeira, Portugal

The Eastern, Somehow Extraterrestrial Madeira Tip

Unusual, with ocher tones and raw earth, Ponta de São Lourenço is often the first sight of Madeira. When we walk through it, we are fascinated, above all, with what the most tropical of the Portuguese islands is not.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Chapada dos Guimarães, Mato Grosso, Brazil, Véu de Noiva waterfall
Natural Parks
Chapada dos Guimarães, Mato Grosso, Brazil

In the Burning Heart of South America

It was only in 1909 that the South American geodesic center was established by Cândido Rondon, a Brazilian marshal. Today, it is located in the city of Cuiabá. It has the stunning but overly combustible scenery of Chapada dos Guimarães nearby.
Bolshoi Zayatski Orthodox Church, Solovetsky Islands, Russia.
UNESCO World Heritage
Bolshoi Zayatsky, Russia

Mysterious Russian Babylons

A set of prehistoric spiral labyrinths made of stones decorate Bolshoi Zayatsky Island, part of the Solovetsky archipelago. Devoid of explanations as to when they were erected or what it meant, the inhabitants of these northern reaches of Europe call them vavilons.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Mangrove between Ibo and Quirimba Island-Mozambique
Ibo Island a Quirimba IslandMozambique

Ibo to Quirimba with the Tide

For centuries, the natives have traveled in and out of the mangrove between the island of Ibo and Quirimba, in the time that the overwhelming return trip from the Indian Ocean grants them. Discovering the region, intrigued by the eccentricity of the route, we follow its amphibious steps.
Armenia Cradle Christianity, Mount Aratat

The Cradle of the Official Christianity

Just 268 years after Jesus' death, a nation will have become the first to accept the Christian faith by royal decree. This nation still preserves its own Apostolic Church and some of the oldest Christian temples in the world. Traveling through the Caucasus, we visit them in the footsteps of Gregory the Illuminator, the patriarch who inspires Armenia's spiritual life.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.

A Market Economy

The law of supply and demand dictates their proliferation. Generic or specific, covered or open air, these spaces dedicated to buying, selling and exchanging are expressions of life and financial health.
herd, foot-and-mouth disease, weak meat, colonia pellegrini, argentina
Daily life
Colónia Pellegrini, Argentina

When the Meat is Weak

The unmistakable flavor of Argentine beef is well known. But this wealth is more vulnerable than you think. The threat of foot-and-mouth disease, in particular, keeps authorities and growers afloat.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.