We live in Mexico, so we certainly think it's safe enough to travel to many places here. We've all been to San Cristobal, and Ray and Laura even lived there (and loved it).
However, we always practice street-smarts and just common sense. The general goal is not to make yourself a target. So keep these points in mind as you prepare for your trip to San Cristobal de las Casas:
- Don't bring or wear jewelry, especially gold. Small glass-beaded earrings or some of those brightly colored woven bracelets, though? No problem.
- While you certainly will want to bring a camera to capture San Cristobal's photo-perfect scenes, a general rule of thumb is not to bring anything you can't part with.
- Make copies or scans of your passport and travel documents. Leave them with a trusted friend whose phone number you know, or even better, email them to yourself. Same for the international contact numbers for any credit, debit, or bank cards you might bring. (U.S. toll-free numbers don't work from Mexico.)
Don't bring any more cards than you need. You just won't need most of what's in your wallet, so leave any social security, grocery store, or frequent customer cards at home.
- Credit or ATM cards are the easiest way to get money (and usually give you the best exchange rate), but have a back-up plan.
- Let someone at home know your specific plans but don't share them with people you meet while traveling.
- We swear by a money belt or pouch -- one of those things that goes under your clothes (not a fanny pack!).
- Use ATMs during the day, and in the bank or in a store, not the stand-alone ones. Put your money away as soon as you get it (not in the street).
- Be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places like markets or busses.
- Ask your Spanish school if there are any areas you shouldn't go to.
- Put only the cash you need immediately in your pocket. Put the rest of it, your cards, and your passport in your money pouch under your clothes, or in the hotel safe if there is one.
- Generally try not to look like a tourist. This one's hard because, well, you are, right? So it's more like, if going to carry a camera and open your map, do so as discreetly as you can.
- Take a sitio or called taxi. Don't just hail one. Go to the official taxi stop or have your school or hotel call an authorized cab for you.
Have a question about safety in San Cristobal? We'll tell you what we know. Just ask!