Day 61 – Puerto Escondito, MX to San Cristobal de las Casas, MX

Day 61 – Puerto Escondito, MX to San Cristobal de las Casas, MX     10/21/10     Mileage:  401

It was hard to peel myself from the sheets this morning, but the road beckons. So after another shower just because I could, I set off in hopes of making it to San Cristobal de las Casas high in the mountainous interior of southern Mexico.

Twists and turns on MEX 200 south...

Passing through Salina Cruz, MX

Lane splitting for motorcycles is legal in Mexico and a great way to get through traffic...

PEMEX is more or less the national gas station of Mexico, and they are generally very well maintained, clean, plentiful and often have a little convenience store. They are sometimes like a little concrete oasis in the dusty craziness of Mexico.

Cattle crossing...

The first few hours of riding were nice but average until I reached Tapanatepec, where I had a decision to make. I could stay on the Pan American highway with the relative safety it offers by being the main road north/south or I could veer inland into the mountainous interior region that borders Guatemala where San Cristobal de las Casas was located. I had just enough daylight left to make it to San Cristobal, so I decided to make a run for it. The road climbed away from the coast with each twist and turn and the air was getting cool and dry. After 20 miles I was beginning to second guess my decision as I had not seen a building or another vehicle on the road save for a truck heading down the other way. If something were to happen, I would be completely on my own. I remembered a conversation I had with my friend John shortly before crossing into Mexico, and his advice was that speed is safety…and he’s right. As long as I’m moving, I’m OK. It’s if I stop, or am stopped…that’s when the situation could get beyond my control. So with that in mind, and my loathing to backtrack, I leaned on the KLR’s throttle and hoped for the best. After a while I began to see some cars, buildings and other signs of life and was more at ease. After passing through the bustling city of Tuxtla Gutierrez, the road turned sharply uphill towards San Cristobal and the air got downright….dare I say…cold! At the top of the pass, the GPS read 8,500 feet above sea level and San Cristobal was not much lower than that. As I pulled into town I got caught up in a manic maze of people and traffic on the narrow colonial era streets. It took quite a while to find my way to the town center, but once I did I knew I liked it here! The town center was alive with people and music and I couldn’t wait to get off the bike to soak it all in.

San Cristobal de las Casas town center...

San Cristobal de las Casas city center...

San Cristobal pedestrian only street...

San Cristobal town square...

I found a hotel 2 blocks from the town square with a center courtyard for the KLR and the price was more than right at $200 pesos…or $16 USD. Once settled I was off to find dinner, some drinks and to take in the atmosphere. A few of the streets near the town square were pedestrian only and some of the bars and cafe’s had tables out on the sidewalk. The cool mountain air was a welcome change from the heat and humidity of the coast and it was enjoyable just to walk around and enjoy the scene.

San Cristobal...

I forgot the name of this church...sorry!

There were many inviting places to eat, but I finally parked myself at a cute cafe called La Vina de Bocco for a glass of wine (or 2 or 3!) and some tapas.

La Vina de Bocca...

Afterwards I took another stroll around the town center and called it a night.

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4 Responses to Day 61 – Puerto Escondito, MX to San Cristobal de las Casas, MX

  1. Carla Friedman says:

    I am so enjoying your descriptions of the scenery, towns, restaurants etc. Makes me feel a bit like I am there with you. Enjoy and thanks for constantly updating. It is great.

    • Lenny says:

      Hi Carla! Glad you’re enjoying the blog…thanks! I think (hope) form here on I will have a bit more time to devote to it….so hopefully it will only get better…

      -Lenny

  2. Jilly says:

    Love this town, reminds me of a little town Sabine took me to in Rio de Janeiro called Paraty, hopefully you’ll get to check it out as well, it’s in the mountains and on the coast….although there are probably many of these little gems in central/south america! enjoy, be safe!
    J

    • Lenny says:

      Hi Jilly! Sorry I haven’t got back to you yet…I’m just now getting around to my email and catching up on the blog. I’m really looking forward to Brazil…but it seems such a long way off still. I’ll make sure John and Sabine point me towards Paraty, because I know I’ll love it if it was anything like San Cristobal. I’m in Antigua, Guatemala now and it is also a cool old colonial town…

      Xo
      -Lenny

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