San Cristobal is situated in the heart of the Chiapas Highlands, a region dominated by an indigenous population, most of which live in impoverished villages in rural areas. Many of these are in remote, mountainous areas that are difficult to reach but some of the largest more prosperous Indian towns are located close to the outskirts of San Cristobal or within an hour on the bus or driving. Many Indians can be observed working in the centre of San Cristobal but too really experience their culture and way of life, a visit to one or more of these Indian settlements is a must.
Once leaving the valley of San Cristobal, you leave behind one more “modern” Mexico and enter another older, more spiritual, native Mexico, whose deep roots were established long before Mexico even existed. The road winds past rugged mountains, valleys, small Indian villages with adobe houses set within a colourful tapestry of small cornfields, vegetable plots and flower fields. Families can be seen working in the fields or women by their houses, hand-weaving traditional clothes or handicrafts. In the distance, more isolated villages or hamlets perch precariously on steep mountainsides adorned by a patchwork of cornfields, verdant forest and coffee groves.