Waking up in Catemaco, we’re pretty ready to get this show on the road. It was a great little town and we’re glad we stopped off, but our next destination is high on the “wander list” and we are excited to explore it. We’ve decided to slow things down and spend a couple of days in San Cristobal; unfortunately travel isn’t free and Tyler needs to get some work done.
The toll road out of Catemaco was still a little bumpy but much better than our off-roading experience; and as we get closer to 145d, the roads get even smoother. It’s a good thing we we’re making such good time because pulling into the town of Tuxtla Gtz. we hit a lot of traffic and some really beautiful mountain rain. Tuxtla is the capital of Chiapas state and it was obvious because of all the people and the incredible number of vocational/prep schools and universities. Once we got past the madness of Tuxtla though, it was a quick hour into San Cristobal past some pretty amazing mountain roads (again) and we hadn’t even hit Guatemala yet.
Highways: 180, 145d, 190d (CA-1)
Miles Driven: 280
Time to Destination: 7 hours
Cost in Tolls: $10.68
Road Conditions: awesome!
Driving in, be ready with your GPS because it can be a little confusing if you don’t know your destination. San Cristobal is quaint, with lots of people and more tourists than any other city so far… maybe even more than San Miguel.
Something interesting we’re realizing (and didn’t really research beforehand) is that this time of year is the OFF-season for tourists. We knew we wanted to be at the bottom of South America sometime around December-February (their summer), and knew from our honeymoon in Nicaragua last October that the weather had been great, so we didn't worry much about high season here. Which explains why we'd seen so few travelers thus far.
We booked two nights at Hotel Plaza Magnolias, and we’re glad we did. It was centrally located and had a beautiful aesthetic. Parking was maybe the trickiest so far. There are very few lots, not much space on the street, and even the hotels have limited options. Luckily, we drove around and found a spot just two doors down from our hotel lobby so we could periodically check on the car (not that we needed to… San Cristobal ended up being one of the places we felt safest, but when you're depending on your car as much as we are, you can develop some separation anxiety).
The food and shops in San Cristobal were great! Wandering around on day one, we immediately found the perfect little chocolate and coffee shop to sit and work in. After a nice breakfast on the main road, we made our way back to the chocolatier to plug in for a couple of hours.
Before dinner, we walked up the stairs to Templa de Guadelupe to view the city when we spotted a building with a beautiful mural. We walked over to find a gem of a restaurant with a killer view and just had to sit down for a taco and cerveza. I hate to admit this, but the pre-dinner tacos we accidentally found at La Maldita tasted quite a bit better than our Peruvian feast for dinner. But I think this has a lot to do with what we ordered, and eating in that great little market was so worth it.
THESE TACOS THOUGH…
Not to mention the incredible view...
For dinner we stumbled upon this AMAZING place that looked a lot like the Chelsea Market in New York City. Through a small (and completely unsuspecting) little door, we walked into a beautifully constructed open space with 5 or 6 small restaurants including a brasserie, a “Thai Street Eats”, and a Peruvian tapas bar, among others. This hidden gem had high ceilings, ambient lighting, clean woodwork and a really modern feel. We had a wonderful dinner at the Peruvian ceviche bar where they served parsley/miso appetizers and dessert in a jewelry box :) It was the perfect place to end our evening.
he next day we wandered around a bit more. Did some laundry, found a DHL shipping where we were able to send something back home, walked up to the church for a nice view and a little exercise and finished with dinner and a drink at our hotel restaurant. An early bedtime was imperative because the next morning would take us across the border and into Guatemala; an 8 hour drive WITH a border crossing!! Oh boy.
Wish us luck and we’ll see you down the road!
Meg + Tyler