Getting to San Cristóbal
The nearest major airport is Tuxtla Gutiérrez’s Ángel Albino Corzo International Airport (TGZ); it’s a gleaming, modern airport, and its location well east of Tuxtla makes it equally convenient to San Cristóbal. San Cristóbal does have a small airport of its own, but no commercial flights land there.
Taxis charge US$50 from Tuxtla’s International Airport to San Cristóbal, and around US$37.50 from San Cristóbal to the airport. Agencia Chincultik (Real de Guadalupe 34, tel. 967/678-0957, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. daily) also offers airport drop-off service for US$45 for 1–3 people; reservations are required. Alternately, take a bus to Tuxla, where cabs to the airport are US$17 (45 min).
There is also limited first-class bus service (US$10.50, 1 hr). From the airport to San Cristóbal, buses leave at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.; from San Cristóbal back to the airport, there are only two departures at 5:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The first-class bus terminal (Av. Insurgentes at the Carr. Panamericana, tel. 967/678-0291) is seven blocks from the central plaza. You can avoid the hike down to the bus station to buy tickets by going to Ticket Bus (Calle Real de Guadalupe, tel. 967/678-8503, www.ticketbus.com.mx, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), a half block from the zócalo; they take cash only.
The new highway between Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal opened in 2006 amid much fanfare, including a visit by then president Vicente Fox. The highway cuts travel time between the two cities to just over an hour, and eliminated most of the stomach-lurching curves and precipices that made the old highway so notorious.
There’s a new highway being built between Palenque and San Cristóbal, too, but it’s yet to be completed. Until it is, figure on 5–6 hours on an extremely winding road, with just one stop in Ocosingo; travelers prone to car-sickness should consider taking Dramamine beforehand.
Combis (shared vans) come and go to some of San Cristóbal’s outlying towns and villages. Their depots are located all around town.
Driving at night is definitely not recommended in Chiapas, due to the possibility of roadside robberies; this is especially a concern on the Palenque–San Cristóbal road, and most rural roadways. (Even late-night buses should be avoided, as they are occasionally targeted as well.) Driving during the daytime is safe, however, and usually quite beautiful.
The new toll road between Tuxtla and San Cristóbal makes that stretch safer and quicker, albeit with a US$3.50-per-car price tag. You can still take the old highway, too—it takes twice as long and should not be traveled at night, but there’s no toll and the views are incredible.
© Liza Prado and Gary Chandler from Moon Chiapas, 1st Edition