San Cristobal Tribal Markets

Chiapas market

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.

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

chiapas-tribes-s

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

Chiapas market

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.

3 responses to “San Cristobal Tribal Markets”

  1. avatar laurelle says:

    Beautiful people!

  2. avatar Meg says:

    HI, Thank you for your great information.

    I will have 2 sundays in San Cristobal. I would like to visit the markets out side of San Cristobal – Please can you advise where I should start and finish if I want to visit 2 on one day and the other market on the other sunday.

    San Juan Chamula – Sunday

    Zinacantan – Sunday

    San Andres Larrainzar – Sunday

    Thank you for your help with this.
    Also – I wonder if you know if there is a hotel or B&B in the town of Tenajapa. Thank you – Meg

    • avatar Tony says:

      We went to Zinacantan first getting there early between 7-8 am and then went to San Juan Chamula on the way back. The church is really the highlight there, so if the market has thinned out a bit, that’s OK. It is actually kind of hard to time the markets perfectly because they both peak around the same time, so you will have to pick a focal point. And don’t forget a tour or a taxi can speed things up. I’m sure there is somewhere to stay in Tenejapa, but we just did that as a day trip.

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