Welcome to San Juan Chamula


Chamulan men wear loose homespun tunics of white wool (sometimes, in cool weather, thicker black wool), but cargo-holders – those with important religious and ceremonial duties – wear a sleeveless black tunic and a white scarf on the head. Chamulan women wear fairly plain white or blue blouses and/or shawls and woolen skirts.

Sunday is the weekly market, when people from the hills stream into the village to shop, trade and visit the main church. A corresponding number of tourist buses also stream in, so you might prefer to come another day (though due to local superstitions, there are fewer worshippers on Wednesdays).


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San Juan Chamula activities

$18.75 Cultural & Theme Tours

Chamula and Zinacantan Indigenous Villages Half-Day Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas area at 9:30am or 3:30pm based on your selected time.First, you will visit the community of Zinacantán to meet a local family. You will see the women working with the loom, a Mayan pre-Hispanic activity. You will be able to taste Pox, a traditional drink. The family will invite you to go the kitchen, so you can see how tortillas are made and have the chance to taste them with some beans and pumpkin seeds.Later, you will visit San Juan Chamula, a Mayan village where the population speaks the Tzotzil language. Within the Church you will get to see the rituals and ceremonies performed by the shamans of the people, this a good example of a mixture of religion with very old traditions and customs. You'll return to San Cristobal de las Casas' downtown at approximately 1pm (9:30am departure) or 6pm (3:30pm departure).

$94.99 Cultural & Theme Tours

Chiapas Indigenous Villages and Mountain Bike Tour with Lunch

Your cultural bike journey begins with hotel pickup in Tuxtla Gutiérrez or San Cristóbal de las Casas. Departing from San Cristóbal on your mountain bike, prepare to cover approximately 20 miles (32 km) in all of moderate, single-track terrain. Explore Chiapas’ indigenous villages and enjoy spectacular views of the verdant mountains and valleys along the way.Fuel up with a snack when you arrive at San Juan Chamula in the Chiapas Highlands (own expense). Chamula is a town inhabited by indigenous Mayans known as Tzotzil, most of whom speak their native dialect. Hear about the many things that make this community distinct, such as their autonomous, self-policing status, and learn about the traditional clothes, religion and language of the people here. See the Church of San Juan Bautista, where Catholicism and the local Mayan religion blend together, and visit a traditional Mayan market known for its vibrant colors.Continue biking while enjoying views of the surrounding mountains. Upon reaching Zinacantán, take a break with a traditional lunch of quesadillas, beans and organic coffee with a local family at their home. Watch them prepare the food and learn about their day-to-day life and customs.After lunch, head out to explore the village’s Church of San Lorenzo and learn about the local culture. Then embark on the ride back to San Cristóbal de las Casas, where the trip ends with hotel drop-off.

$52 Cultural & Theme Tours

San Cristobal de las Casas Small-Group Full-Day Tour

Pick up at your hotel in San Cristobal, one of Mexico’s best-preserved Spanish colonial towns. It ts made up of a series of traditional barrios (neighborhoods), each of which is known for a particular trade or custom, such as iron working, carpentry and woodcarving.At San Cristobal de Las Casas you will visit the historical center including Zocalo (main plaza), the Cathedral, the Law Faculty, and other buildings rich in colonial architecture such as the Casa de las Artesanias, Casa de Cultura and the Arco del Carmen. The final part of the tour is the visit to the central market and Santo Domingo Church.The indigenous people of Chiapas speak their own language (often in addition to Spanish), practice their own unique customs and can be identified by their traditional dress that varies by group. They continue to depend primarily on agriculture for their economic well-being; however, it’s not unusual for them to travel into San Cristobal to sell their handmade crafts and shop in the markets for everyday items to take back to their villages.San Juan Chamula, 10 km from San Cristobal de las Casas, is a town steeped in history, and yet also allows a look into the Mayas of today. This is the largest Maya township in Chiapas with a population over 40,000 Tzotzil speakers, one of the 31 Mayan languages. This region is known for its agricultural and ceremonial lifestyles, which are a mixture of Catholic and Mayan beliefs. The Catholic Church of San Juan Bautista, in fact, is not part of any Diocese because residents desire the freedom to perform various types of rituals.The road to the village of San Lorenzo Zinancantan is about 11 km. long. Zinancantán people are also Tzotzil Mayans and the predominant dress is in very distinctive costumes of pink and purple.If option is selected, you will also visit the Na Bolom museum that was created from the Blom’s private collection. The museum has five permanent exposition rooms and was founded in 1951 by the Danish Archaeologist Frans Blom and the Swiss photographer Gertrude Duby. Na Bolom means “The House of the Jaguar”.Your tour ends with hotel drop-off.

$127 Day Trips & Excursions

Sumidero Canyon and San Juan Chamula from San Cristobal

At Sumidero Canyon you will enjoy a motor boat cruise through the middle of this spectacular canyon. The road descends more than 1500 meters and reaches the Grijalva River where the Sumidero Canyon has cliffs from 100 to 1000 meters high. In this national park, it is very often possible to see local wildlife such as crocodiles, spider monkeys, and white and gray herons.San Juan Chamula, 10 km from San Cristobal de las Casas, is a town steeped in history, and yet also allows a look into the Mayas of today This is the largest Maya township in Chiapas with a population over 40,000 Tzotzil speakers, one of the 31 Mayan languages. This region is known for its agricultural and ceremonial lifestyles, which are a mixture of Catholic and Mayan beliefs. The Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist, in fact, is not part of any Diocese because residents desire the freedom to perform various types of rituals.The indigenous people of Chiapas speak their own language (often in addition to Spanish), practice their own unique customs and can be identified by their traditional dress that varies by group. They continue to depend primarily on agriculture for their economic well-being; however, it’s not unusual for them to travel into San Cristobal to sell their handmade crafts and shop in the markets for everyday items to take back to their villages.

$25 Cultural & Theme Tours

San Cristobal de las Casas Indigenous Villages Cultural Tour

The town of San Juan Chamula, situated 10 kilometers northeast of San Cristobal de Las Casas, is the home of about 2,000 inhabitants of direct Mayan descent, proud of their heritage. In Chamula, a local guide will explain to you the history of the region and you will be able to visit the Church of San Juan Bautista (St. John the Baptist) that has simple but incredibly beautiful ornamentation on the outer fascade. Once there, see the artistic beauty of the church on the inside and see the exceptional arrangement of its altars, with Catholic saints dressed according to indigenous traditional customs. You will find out about the native people and their customs. You can observe how ancient Mayan traditions are now intertwined with modern day Catholic practices. You will continue to Zinacantan as the last part of the tour. This is another magical indigenous population very close to San Cristobal de las Casas, where you can admire the beauty of the Church of San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence) and see first hand the laborious handmade work of the weaver women, who, with a loom at their waists, make magnificent textile pieces such as 'Huipiles' (ponchos), tablecloths, bedspreads and cushion covers. You will enjoy a mini traditional lunch (beans, organic coffee, hand made tortillas and drink typical of the region) with a local family where you can learn more about its customs and traditions. Zinacantán literally means "land of bats" and comes from the Nahuatl language. People in Zinacantán speak Tzotzil(a Mayan language) and they call their own land "Sots'leb", that is, "land of bats" in their own language.  Enjoy this experience and relax back to your hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas.

$1300 Multi-day & Extended Tours

Chiapas Off The Beaten Path

Day 1 - 9:00 am - 1:00 pm Welcome DayThe tour starts when we pick you up from Tuxtla Gutiérrez International Airport. We’ll start with an incredible adventure in the Sumidero Canyon. As we cruise by boat through vertical walls of the canyon that reach up to 3,000 feet. Once we reach the town of San Cristobal de las Casas we will check in to the hotel to get some rest. Day 2 - 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Trek - The Water RouteWe are headed towards the town of Ocozocuautla de Espinoza to settle in the Sima de Las Cotorras tourist center. Here we will be rappelling a descent of approximately 328’ within the chasm. Within its interior we will discover an ecosystem that is inhabited by hundreds of families of parrots. We will then climb back up with ropes what we rappelled down. In the afternoon, we will learn from a group of ladies the secret recipes in a cooking class for a regional meal. We’ll enjoy dinner and sleep in a small rustic cabin. Day 3 - 8:00 am - 6:00 pm The Trek ContinuesAfter breakfast we will move to the eco-tourist center El Aguacero, where we’ll enter an amazing cave to discover the life that exists inside. Then we’ll continue our trek along a path on the river that will take us to a curtain of 130' waterfalls. Regional food will be waiting for us when we finish the day. Day 4 - 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Back to San Cristobal de las CasasUpon awakening we will have a delicious traditional breakfast as the chefs say farewell, we will continue the tour. We will be returning to San Cristobal de Las Casas where you can take time to enjoy the afternoon and you are free to explore the town. Day 5 - 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Zinacantán & San Juan ChamulaWe'll visit the indigenous community of San Juan Chamula, located only 6 miles away. From San Cristóbal, there we’ll have the opportunity to visit the cathedral in the town center. Here we’ll observe the preservation of ancient traditions in the way of worshiping their saints. We will then continue to the community of San Lorenzo Zinacantán. Here you will have the opportunity to visit one of the homes and observe their way of life and how the women make their colorful waist loom clothing. Day 6 - 8:00 am - 6:00 pm ‘El Chiflón’ and Montebello LakesEl Chiflón is a natural beauty in Chiapas it is admired for its impressive chain of waterfalls that end with the famous "Velo de Novia" which has a height of 400ft. Later we will visit the Montebello Lakes where you can appreciate the striking color of its lagoons. Day 7 - 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Recovery DayAfter enjoying Chiapas for several days, the time has come to return home. According to your flight schedule we will drive you to the airport.

San Juan Chamula in detail