Dec 14, 2009, 8:21 AM
Post #4 of 49
I spent last May in San Cristobal and it was cold and rainy very much like Vancouver or Seattle. I loved it but I was escaping daily 108 temperatures here in Yucatan. I spent Christmas a few years ago in San Cristobal and have never been so cold. This mostly was because the inside of the inexpensive hotel was colder than the outside. I would not say that it is a temperate climate. Further the walking streets are geared to the tourist trade in San Cristobal and you find little that you would need in a daily life. They are great for people watching or stopping for an overpriced coffee or ice cream. For daily life you need the mercado or the one pitiful little mall with its Chedraui. It is a fairly long trip to Tuxtla which is the nearest city of any consequence. There are people on this board who like Tuxtla but I think it is one homely place with a lot of traffic.
Personally I could not imagine living full time in San Cristobal de las Casas. It is teeny and almost too cute. It is more of a tourist attraction in the midst of abject poverty than anything else that I can think of. The local mercado, which is a thriving vibrant authentic place, is wonderful. The Chiapan countryside is beautiful, the litttle bitty children chasing you to sell tacky souvenirs is heartbreaking, the shopping for trinkets enjoyable. If I lived without a car in San Cristobal I would go stir crazy very quickly and unless your Spanish and your skill at language learning is excellent you would be quite isolated and on your own. And frankly, you might be quite isolated and on your own anyway.
I grew up in central Florida, have lived in southern Mississippi, McAllen, TX, Eagle Pass, TX, and Bullhead City, AZ. I've also lived in very cold climates in Connecticut, Kansas, and Colorado. Spent a year in Seattle also. As long as it isn't like Seattle all the time, or gets as cold as Kansas, I'll take it over the boiling hot. Merida sounds like a great place but I scratched it off the list due to year'round hot weather. As a native Floridian I know how thin blood can make temps in the 40's seem very uncomfortable. But the main idea behind my post is to find comparably sized cities that have as good amenities and may be even better for fulltime living. And San Cristobal may be ideal for many of the reasons you cited. It does get tourists, so I won't stick out like a sore thumb. It does have alot of cafes, has a Cinepolis multiplex, has the great Mercado, and a good bookstore, one of the best for English language books in Mexico, although I'm sure that's not saying alot. From what I'm reading there are many cultural events happening. Between all that, the scenery, having wi-fi, a Kindle from Amazon, satellite tv, I think I can stay busy. And I hope to walk at least a few miles every day, which would get very old in heavy traffic, especially with less stringent emissions laws. And I like that my income, such as it is, is being spent in an area where it might do more good. I like the location of Ciudad Victoria, but I think isolation there would be intense, and it's hot too. But I'll definitely look at San Cristobal from your perspective when I visit. Thanks!