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Travel Adventure - Backpacking Latin America's Gringo Trail Backpacking Latin America starting in Cuba, then travelling from East to the west coast of Mexico before making our through Central and finishing in South America.

San Cristobal - our final destination in Mexico

MEXICO | Tuesday, 30 June 2015 | Views [464]

We came to San Cristobal last as it was apparently the main gateway to continue our travels south to Guatemala. When we asked our hostel reception about buses to Flores to visit one of the best ruins in the world - Tikal we were advised they don't leave from here, only Palenque. Bloody hell. We had already seen Palenque, stopping there on our way through to come to San Cristobal after. We tried to link up an overnight bus to Palenque to then go to Flores in the morning but it didn't link up. We could either spend a night in Palenque (which we had already been to and stayed in the jungle and apparently there is not much in town. Or we skipped Tikal and went straight to Lake Atitlan). As much as I thought Tikal was going to be on our itinerary and wanted to see these incredible ruins which are massive and you can climb (unlike Chichen Itza) it was now totally out of our way and adding costs on to travelling there. Plus we had already seen 3 lots of ruins already. We had kind of done our route a bit backward, meaning we would need to back track a little after getting excited and booking Cuba flights straight away and probably should have booked them later in our trip. But anyway it hasn't ruined our experience and again it's all part of travelling, just got to keep rolling with the punches and figuring it out as you go. 

San Cristobal is much colder than everywhere else in Mexico. Hot during the day but it completely drops during the night and it's the first time ive worn Jeans and a jacket. At least my winter clothes I packed that have so far just been sitting at the bottom of my backpack have got a work out! We did a self guided walking tour (with our free map from the hostel) of San Cristobal, climbing two hills which had churches on top (lots of coloured churches around this town) to look back down with a view over the town.  It definitely tested my fitness abilities - God only knows how I will manage Machu Picchu! And getting a little lost in the cobble stone, colonial streets, it reminded me a little of Oaxaca. The town is relaxed, like most Mexican cities and had a sophisticated (lots of people driving nice cars), yet an alternate, hipster side with skate shops and hippy looking locals walking around. We tried a cheap taco place the hostel recommended for dinner. It was a busy place and we were the only gringos in there.. the waiters kind of laughed when we went in. Matt ordered 5 tacos of the meat which was on a rotisserie and had pineapple and cheese on it. He said it was one of the best meals he's ever eaten! I ordered an entree mushroom and cheese tacos and a massive vegetarian plate which had cooked capsicum, pineapple, mushrooms, onion, melted cheese on top etc which you self served your own tacos. It was delicious. Matt helped me finished it and I think we had about 15 tacos each for dinner. It was so good and we were so full after! It didn't stop us from walking the streets and trying some hot chocolates and a chocolate cake at one of the chocolate cafes after! When it got dark we went back to our hostel who put on Bon fires and sat around chatting to a couple of other travellers who had just come from Guatemala and got some good advice on where to go and what to do. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of partying on this next part of the Central American gringo trail! All the next morning we had to sort out our bus tickets to Guatemala, then we looked in a few shops and markets and had a nice lunch at Italian restaurant (there is surprisingly a lot of Italian restaurants in Mexico... there's probably a lot everywhere!) with a wine to match (good wine seems to be hard to find in Mexico, having been sticking to margaritas instead which are about $6 a cocktail, so just as cheap anyway). We are now relaxing in our hostel (seem to have the four Bedder dorm to ourselves after the other two travellers left this morning- all of our hostels have been pretty good so far, apart from the one in Cancun haha) which is nice  plus I need to write a few emails for my business which I still haven't done and was meant to do before I left but ran out of time and don't have time here either coz I'm supposed to be enjoying myself but it's been in the back of my mind the whole time so just need to get them over and done with, before catching our bus to Lake Atitlan in Guatemala tomorrow morning and continuing our journey South.
There was definitely an 'end of a chapter' feeling leaving Puerto Escondido and coming to our final destination in Mexico after spending two weeks travelling the country. After spending 10 days here a couple of years ago, I definitely got a taste and loved what I had seen and wanted to come back and explore more of Mexico and see what else it had to offer. I'm so glad I did, seeing the diversity and beautiful natural landscapes of not just the typical touristy destinations which are gorgeous but also the cenotes, waterfalls, beaches, jungles, mountains, countryside, cities and towns. Getting a glimpse in to the Mexican way of life (very relaxed!) and trying some of their delicious food which also differs from state to state. I've heard there's not much of a cuisine as we continue our travels so have savoured all we can in Mexico. I loved visiting the ruins and some of the old buildings and churches and learning about the extremely interesting Mayan history and witnessing the remains of their ancient civilisations. 
I'm sad to be leaving Mexico ( just getting used to pesos, we'll now have to change currency haha) I'm also a bit nervous crossing the borders ( not sure what it's like, and again you hear the stories) but I'm sure it will be fine once we do it once. But I'm so excited for the next leg of our adventure. Can't believe we still have three months to go but I know we have a hell of a lot to cover in those three months. Everyone is gobsmacked when we tell them we are going to South America aswell and we only have 4 months to do it. Most travellers taking 6 months or more. Oh well, I'm sure we'll be fine and we'll get a taste of all the countries and will be able to come back to our favourites and what we may miss on another trip ;) I've never been to any of these countries before and I'm excited to see what they have to offer and the diversity, variety and fun each new country will be like throughout Central and South America! 
 
 
 

Tags: churches, guatemala, hot chocolate, markets, san cristobal, shops, streets, tacos

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