We’ve never heard of San Cristobal de las Casas before but our friends from Playa del Carmen spoke so highly about this town – we knew we had to check it out for ourselves!
After spending 2.5 months there, we can say it turned out to be an amazing digital nomad destination for us. Why?
While you could say it’s because of the colonial charm, the cobblestone streets or the premium coffee culture…
…it was actually the cost of living San Cristobal de las Casas had to offer that attracted us in the first place! Our cost of living in Playa del Carmen was getting too ridiculous prices (like 1.5-2 times what we paid) and we wanted to move to a more cost-effective place.
So we booked flights to San Cristobal de las Casas and that was that!
Why Should Digital Nomads Go To San Cristobal de las Casas?
We loved our time in San Cristobal de las Casas and we were surprised at how well set up it was for digital nomads, remote workers or full-time travelers. Everything a digital nomad could need was found in San Cristobal de las Casas:
- Tons of coffee shops to work from.
- Coworking spaces to work and meet people.
- Exciting day trips and weekend activities.
- Beautiful city center and incredibly walkable.
- Decent internet speeds.
- Variety of restaurants.
What more could you want?! Wait I know…
The cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas might be a concern right?
Well, I’ve got good news for you: it’s very affordable for any budget!
San Cristobal de las Casas cost of living for one month has got to be one of the cheapest in all of Mexico. The rent was cheaper, the dining out costs was cheaper and the coworking spaces were very reasonable!
Let’s get started and break down the monthly cost of living for a couple in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Total Cost of Living San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico For Digital Nomads
I feel like I need to preface this and say: this is our personal cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas. It may not be the cheapest price you’ve ever seen and it might not be the most expensive you’ve seen.
The point is: you can use our cost of living to see if this digital nomad destination would work for you. It is by no means what you need to spend to live there. What you spend is totally up to you and how well you budget. We want to give you guys an idea of what it could be like and the reality of what it did cost us to live in San Cristobal de las Casas.
Here’s the thing: you can always do it cheaper. But we honestly like to enjoy our time especially if it’s a new and beautiful colonial city we have yet to explore.
Our Breakdown Cost of Living in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico
As we’ve been digital nomads, we’ve learned how to budget and what it takes to make this lifestyle sustainable.
I can tell you this for a fact: Fast travel will burn your cash QUICK. Slow traveling allows you to build a routine, get good monthly deals and actually take a breather to stop moving and relax for a minute!
We believe in doing these cost of living blog posts in a monthly perspective because that’s typically the amount of time we recommend a digital nomad stay in 1 city (at the least).
Here’s the monthly breakdown for a couple’s cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico:
|Activities & Entertainment||$142|
Our total monthly cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas for 2 people is: $1,825 USD
What do you think…Did we do well? Here are some things we noticed off the bat:
Dining out & Coffee
We splurged on things like dining out because well the restaurants San Cristobal de las Casas has to offer are irresistible! And don’t get us started on the coffee – we couldn’t help ourselves! We had 1 coffee out each per day (yes we know we have a problem :P).
Accommodation was one of the cheapest we’ve had across Latin America – we were very happy with this price especially after living in Playa del Carmen where they wanted to charge us $1,700 USD for a studio apartment.
The coworking spaces San Cristobal de las Casas offered are all very affordable especially when compared to PDC. The coworking in Playa del Carmen costs around $180 USD for a monthly unlimited membership which is what seems to be the average cost.
If you’re on a tight budget, you could stay in San Cristobal de las Casas for roughly $800 USD for a single person and $1,200 USD for a couple per month. This includes rent, restaurants, transport and a few activities. You could probably do less but it would require a lot of time and effort on your part to find a low-cost rental and all the cheap eats. We wouldn’t recommend any less unless you’re tight on your budget.
For more comfortable living, you’re looking at roughly $1,400 USD for a single person and around $1,800 USD for a couple per month. This budget gives you room for a nicer apartment and gives you the freedom to try all the coffee, activities and restaurants San Cristobal de las Casas offers.
Again, it’s completely up to you how you want to curate your time and money in San Cristobal de las Casas!
Accommodation Costs – $644 USD
We booked an Airbnb in advance because we were arriving around Christmas time and didn’t want to lose out on any good deals/apartments. We found ours via the Tangerine Travels Youtube video and it had *almost* everything we could need as digital nomads!
We had a 1 bedroom townhouse/apartment complete with an outdoor patio, fully-stocked kitchen, fireplace, living room and an extra single bed. While it was very spacious for the two of us, they didn’t provide heating (which is apparently the norm in Mexico) so it did get quite cold at night even if the fireplace was lit!
Our main problem was the wifi. We got around 3 Mbps which is just too slow for us personally so we ended up buying a booster and that helped us stream things like Netflix. We ended up getting coworking because honestly we love the coworking vibes more than working from home plus the wifi is much faster (33 Mbps) and it was reliable.
We stayed in the Barrio de Los Mexicanos neighborhood and the location was pretty good. We were about a 15-minute walk into the city center and/or the famous walking street, Real de Guadalupe.
If you’re wondering where to stay in San Cristobal de las Casas as digital nomads…
…we recommend Barrio de El Cerrillo or Barrio de Guadalupe. You’ll be closer to the coworking spaces, the restaurants and all the traditional markets to explore.
Can You Negotiate the Price for Monthly Stays?
This is a common question we get from our friends on our Instagram page and it’s a great one!
Short answer: Yes you definitely can!
We have tried a couple of different negotiating tactics. There are several ways to ask for a discounted price on Airbnb:
- Message host before you book it and ask for a 10% discount upfront (for a long stay)
- Book 1 month on Airbnb then negotiate after you’ve settled (and already like the place)
We’ve always had success with option #2. We book our places around 3 weeks in advance then if we decide we want to stay in that apartment let alone that city – we negotiate our second month and we’ve always got a discount!
Coworking Costs – $166 USD for 2 people
We are coworking enthusiasts – no matter where we travel we will always try to find a coworking space. Sometimes, we will even choose a destination if the coworking space is amazing or well-known for good working conditions and community – especially famous ones like Dojo Bali or Punspace in Chiang Mai.
Here are the 2 best coworking San Cristobal de las Casas has to offer and what they cost for a monthly unlimited membership:
Centralita Coworking Centro & El Cerrillo
This is the OG coworking space in San Cristobal and they are seeing great success – they’ve even added a second location. The internet speed at both locations was consistent at around 30-40 Mbps.
Top Tip: The El Cerrillo location is our favorite with stunning mountain views!
The total cost for a monthly unlimited membership at Centralita Coworking is $83 USD per person ($166 USD). Simply walk in to book your membership.
Co.404 Coliving & Coworking:
Co.404 has done a great job at establishing itself in the digital nomad community in San Cristobal de las Casas. They are a coliving and coworking space with some of the fastest wifi speeds in San Cris. The owners are lovely and put a lot of work into creating a harmonious space for digital nomads to feel welcome, find friends and get work done.
If you want to use the coworking space, you’ll need to actually stay in the coliving space. The monthly cost for a wide private room is $618 USD.
If you’re traveling solo, we recommend staying at the Co.404 coliving space and you’ll automatically get a friend group to do everything with! Message them on Instagram to book or check out their website here.
Grocery Costs – $288
We found that grocery costs varied quite a bit depending on where you went. There are quite a few large grocery stores in San Cristobal de las Casas including:
- MEGA Soriana and
The cheapest and closest grocery store to us was Chedraui. We loved doing our weekly grocery shop here and we found most of what we needed every time.
We spent a total of $288 USD for one month’s worth of groceries. That made our weekly grocery runs around $72 USD which we think is very cheap and reasonable!
Overall, groceries in San Cristobal de las Casas and Mexico, in general, are quite cost-effective and you have a great selection to choose from.
Dining Out Costs – $277
We loved the restaurant scene in San Cristobal de las Casas. There were so many different cuisines to choose from:
…and so much more! Depending on what you feel like, most restaurant meals for one person typically range from $50 pesos up to $150 pesos ($2 to $7 USD) plus tip.
Feel like a fancy restaurant? You can expect to pay more like $150 to $300 pesos ($7 to $16 USD) per person.
Insider Tip: Drink some wine at the famous tapas bar Viño de Bacco – it’s only $20 pesos (0.95 cents) for a glass!
We ate most meals at home during the week and frequently dined out for the weekends. As you can see for a total of $565 USD, we had a great mix of home-cooked meals vs dining out at great restaurants!
Should You Tip In San Cristobal de las Casas?
It’s pretty common to tip in Mexico, in general.
Usually, 10% to 15% is considered normal.
If you are really happy, you can tip 20%.
Warning: Before you tip, make sure you check the bill because some restaurants will already include a service charge on top of your meal (without telling you).
Coffee Cost – $143
If you know us…you know we have a dire love for coffee.
We will have a healthy budget just for coffee (and not feel guilty about it)! Going out for a coffee and chatting is one of our favorite things to do – no matter where we are in the world!
We tried a lot of different cafes in San Cristobal de las Casas and some were great to work from and others just had really delicious coffee!
A latte or cappuccino in San Cristobal costs anywhere between $50 pesos ($2.5 USD) and for Americanos it’s around $40 pesos ($2 USD).
This makes coffee relatively inexpensive and we usually have at least 1 cup out every day!
Drinking Water – $19
Can you drink the tap water in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas?
That’s why you’ll need to buy those 20L blue bottles of water for your drinking water. Where do you buy those bottles?
The easiest and quickest way to buy them is through your local OXXO. You can buy a new bottle to get started then bring it back and keep refilling it. A refill costs around $37 pesos (1.87 USD).
Transport Costs – $43
I can’t believe how low this was in San Cristobal de las Casas – it’s probably because we walked everywhere. But we also didn’t skimp on taxis whenever we felt like not walking (and trust you’ll eventually get there).
Important: The going taxi rate is $50 pesos (2.40 USD) to travel within San Cristobal de las Casas. We found the taxi drivers to be very honest and fair. I don’t think any of them ever quoted more than that which was great!
SIM Card & Pre-Paid Data Plan Costs – $28
Mobile data and phone plans are relatively inexpensive in Mexico.
These are the top 3 phone companies in Mexico:
- AT&T Unidos
We trust and recommend Telcel! We bought our SIM Card in Playa del Carmen and I asked my Mexican friend which was the best and he said Telcel has the widest and strongest coverage. If you want a reliable network, buy a Telcel SIM card.
A monthly prepaid package typically costs $295 pesos ($14 USD) per person. The pre-paid plans are a little different in Mexico – you’ll get unlimited social media but around 3GB of browsing data. We found we never really ran out of data and this was sufficient for a month’s stay.
Activities & Entertainment Costs – $142
There are so many things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas! We almost had an activity every weekend (but you know we didn’t because hello lazy weekends).
While living in San Cristobal de las Casas, these were some of our favorite things to do:
- Take a boat through the Sumidero Canyon
- Day trip to the indigenous communities of San Juan Chamula and Zapantan
- Tour the Montebello lakes and witness the Cascada El Chiflón waterfall
- Learn the history of the colonial city with a free walking tour
If you’re planning to visit San Cristobal de las Casas, pay close attention to the weather and/or plan around the seasons! Why?
San Cristobal de las Casas is cold! As digital nomads, we try to avoid winter by moving to our next country but we purposely went to San Cris (knowing it’d be cold) because we thought it was fitting for Christmas time.
The best time to visit San Cristobal de las Casas is February, March, April, and May. Try to avoid visiting in June because all you’ll get is rain!
Gym Membership Cost – $0
We didn’t take up a monthly membership at the gym here in San Cristobal de las Casas. I downloaded the SWEAT app by Kayla Itsines instead and just did home workouts for our time here.
We usually do have gym membership wherever which is why this section is still here. We did have a look for you and a monthly membership at a basic gym in San Cristobal de las Casas costs $29 USD.
Flight Cost to San Cristobal de las Casas – $244
We flew with Viva Aerobus – it was the cheapest at the time. The price of $244 USD includes the ticket for 2 people and 2 checked digital nomad luggage. We almost took the bus from Playa del Carmen to San Cristobal de las Casas but quickly ditched that idea after we realized it was a 25-hour bus ride.
The flight from Playa del Carmen to San Cristobal de las Casas only took around 1.5 hours and we took a taxi from the airport (45 mins away) to get to the city center. The taxi ride cost us a hefty $38 USD. A great hack to lessen this cost is to share/half the cost of the taxi with another traveler.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: From now on whenever we do our cost of living blogs on Two Tickets Anywhere, we are going to add the price we paid for transport to actually get to our destinations. While the monthly cost of living is a good and accurate depiction of what you could spend in a digital nomad city – we want to go that extra step to add the cost of transport to the destination. Often people forget to add this to their budgets and it’s easy to get caught in a pickle!
Wrap Up: Cost Of Living San Cristobal de las Casas for Digital Nomads
And that was our monthly cost of living San Cristobal de las Casas as digital nomads!
At a total monthly cost of living of $1,825 USD for 2 people – we thought we did pretty well with our budgeting (we’re not the best at it) and we found San Cristobal de las Casas to be a very affordable digital nomad destination.
We recommend San Cristobal de las Casas to digital nomads, remote workers or full-time travelers because of the access to coworking spaces, a welcoming community and value for money!