Na Bolom

Top choice in San Cristóbal de las Casas

An atmospheric museum-research center, Na Bolom for many years was the home of Swiss anthropologist and photographer Gertrude Duby-Blom (Trudy Blom; 1901–93) and her Danish archaeologist husband Frans Blom (1893–1963). Na Bolom means ‘Jaguar House’ in the Tzotzil language (as well as being a play on its former owners’ name). It’s full of photographs, archaeological and anthropological relics, and books.

The house tour provides a revealing insight into the lives of the Bloms and the Chiapas of half a century and more ago – though the picture presented of the Lacandones does dwell more on their past than their present. The Bloms bought the 19th-century house in 1950, and while Frans explored and surveyed ancient Maya sites all over Chiapas (including Palenque, Toniná and Chinkultic), Trudy studied, photographed and fought to protect the scattered Lacandón people of eastern Chiapas and their jungle environment.

Since Trudy’s death, Na Bolom has continued the thrust of the Bloms’ work, with the house operating as a museum and research center for the study and support of Chiapas’ indigenous cultures and natural environment. The library of more than 9000 books and documents here is a major resource on the Maya.

Na Bolom also offers guest rooms and meals made with organic vegetables grown in its garden.