San Cristobal Tribal Markets
Without a doubt, the highlight of any trip to beautiful San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas is a visit to the regional markets full of colorful Tzotzil and Tzeltal people. We explored the local market here in San Cristobal as well as the markets in Tenejapa, San Lorenzo Zinacantan and San Juan Chamula. It’s a feast for the senses and a quick course in the diversity of the region. Each village features unique local garb. Don’t miss the black, rug-like skirts of San Juan Chamula and the elaborately embroidered designs of San Lorenzo Zinacantan.
If you visit, try to get to those markets early to catch stunning processions of locals as they leave the church on market day. This is the best time to see everyone decked out in colorful turbans, heavy ponchos, and ribboned hats. (And don’t miss their very cool traditional footwear.) As in neighboring Guatemala, if you do decide to visit less touristed markets such as Tenejapa, be very careful with those cameras and always ask before you take a picture. Tourists have been roughed up or arrested for being too aggressive with their cameras. Actually, we didn’t take a single picture in Tenejapa because of the reaction to our cameras. Photography is much easier in more touristed markets. Market days and practical info below.
Market Days and Tips on Getting to Markets
San Cristobal – Every day
San Juan Chamula – Sunday
Zinacantan – Sunday
San Andres Larrainzar – Sunday
Tenejapa – Thursday
San Pedro Chenalhó – Saturday
Tours to various markets are available from agencies in San Cristobal. This is a good option for those with limited time, those who want a guide, or those who wish to visit more than one market on a single day. For those who prefer to visit independently, colectivos and smaller shared taxis depart on market days from various points around the San Cristobal produce market. To find exact departure locations for each market and to reconfirm market days, ask the tourist information.