Thinking about becoming a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad?
We’ve never heard of this stunning Mexico city and the first couple questions that popped into minds were:
- Is San Cristobal de las Casas even set up for digital nomads?
- What are the internet speeds like?
- Are there enough activities for us to do on the weekends?
- Are there coworking spaces available?
- Is there an existing digital nomad community?
These are all valid and reasonable questions to consider before making the move to your new digital nomad destination. Matthew and I were ready for a change in our environments after being Playa del Carmen digital nomads and we asked our friends where we should go, we got a resounding…
…San Cristobal de las Casas! It’s not your typical digital nomad destination – it’s cold and there are no beaches nearby. But you know what… It is magical!
We enjoyed spending 2.5 months living in San Cristobal de las Casas as digital nomads and we wrote everything you need to know about this mountain town before you even visit!
Why Become A San Cristobal de las Casas Digital Nomad?
There are a lot of reasons to visit San Cristobal but even more reasons to become a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad.
Here’s the thing digital nomads need:
- Decent wifi connection
- Digital nomad community
- Coliving or coworking spaces
- Fun weekend activities
Do you get all of the above when you become a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad?
The quick answer is…yes!
But those aren’t the only reasons to visit this beautiful colonial town. San Cristobal de las Casas is a hidden gem that not a lot of digital nomads have visited yet.
It’s one of the lowest costs of living you can find in Mexico and to our surprise – it’s well set up for digital nomads who work online and love to travel. The cobblestone streets, the indigenous culture, the rich history is also great experience to soak in as a full-time traveler.
Complete San Cristobal de las Casas Digital Nomad Guide
Is San Cristobal de las Casas the next digital nomad hot spot?
If it continues to grow with more coworking and/or coliving spaces, we can definitely see that happen! One of the most important factors for digital nomads is the cost of living (or value for money) and San Cristobal is one of the lowest in all of Mexico.
Now…it’s still a bit of a hidden gem to digital nomads but I’ve let you in on the secret so you can also experience the magic town that is San Cristobal de las Casas!
How To Get from Tuxtla Gutierrez to San Cristobal de las Casas?
The closest airport to San Cristobal de las Casas is Ángel Albino Corzo International Airport which is located to the nearby town, Tuxtla Gutierrez. The airport is about a 1 hour drive to San Cristobal de las Casas.
Getting from Tuxtla Gutierrez airport to San Cristobal de las Casas is fairly straightforward and you don’t have to worry about it. I was worried about what we were going to do but you have 3 options:
Take An ADO Bus
ADO Bus is a popular way to get around Mexico. The buses are very clean, usually on time and very cost-effective. We arrived too late in the night to choose this option but if you’re able – this is a great option for digital nomads.
The ticket stand is located outside the airport terminal where you can purchase tickets after you arrive or you can buy your ADO bus tickets online too.
Take A Taxi
We took this option! It’s the easiest and most convenient way to get from the airport to the city center.
The process was simple:
You get out of the airport and someone will come up and ask if you want a taxi. If you say yes, they will give you a paper that shows how much it costs and make sure to keep that paper.
The taxi ride from Tuxtla Gutierrez airport to San Cristobal de las Casas costs $800 pesos ($38 USD). A little hefty right? If you’re open to sharing a taxi, you could find someone to split it with.
How to Get a SIM Card in San Cristobal de las Casas?
It’s easy to get a SIM card in San Cristobal de las Casas and it’s similar to the process of getting a SIM card in Playa del Carmen.
There are several companies you can go with:
- AT&T Unidos
We always recommend Telcel. It’s the biggest phone company in Mexico which means it also has the best coverage nationwide. Our Mexican friend told us to get Telcel and we were so glad we did especially since living in San Cristobal de las Casas.
A monthly pre-paid SIM card typically costs $295 pesos ($14 USD). In Mexico, you get unlimited social media and 3GB of internet browsing. You can also use that 3G to hotspot if ever your internet stops working.
Where To Buy A Prepaid SIM Card in San Cristobal de las Casas
It’s easy to buy a SIM card in Mexico and you can usually recharge for the next month at the same spots. You can buy a SIM card in a couple of places including:
- Telcel Shops
The data reception in San Cristobal de las Casas is NOT great. It was spotty at best! While the wifi wasn’t an issue there – the phone reception was! We would be walking around and it would drop out of nowhere.
Top Tip: Make sure you download an offline Google Map of San Cris in case this happens to you.
When Is The Best Time To Visit San Cristobal de las Casas for Digital Nomads?
San Cristobal de las Casas gets cold. Very cold! We stayed during December, January and February – probably not the best idea if you don’t like the cold. We just thought it was fine since it was the Christmas season. And we honestly underestimated how cold it really got in San Cristobal de las Casas. At night, it would reach lows of 46F (8C) and most apartments don’t have any heating! That’s right, you’d have to buy a heater if you can’t withstand the cold.
The best time to visit San Cristobal de las Casas is February, March, April and May. You’ll get the most daylight during these months and better chances of doing all the fun outdoor activities in the region.
Important: Don’t visit San Cristobal de las Casas during their rainy season! Avoid going in June especially because the colonial city gets approximately 28/30 days of rain.
Where To Stay in San Cristobal de las Casas – 3 Best Areas
There are plenty of areas to choose from when deciding where to stay in San Cristobal de las Casas. Here are the 5 best neighborhoods you should be looking in:
Barrio de El Cerrillo – Best For Digital Nomads
If you’re a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad, this is the best area for you to stay in. Why?
You’re within walking distance to the 3 coworking spaces, restaurants and coffee shops. It’s easy to have the digital nomad lifestyle of working during the week, eating at fun restaurants during the weekends and just having premium Chiapas coffee daily.
Barrio de Guadalupe – Close To The City Center & Restaurants
Are you a foodie? This is a great neighborhood to stay in San Cristobal de las Casas because you’re a 10-minute walk to the famous walking street, Real de Guadalupe. There are a wide variety of restaurants found in this area alone! It’s also around a 15-minute walk to the coworking space.
Barrio de Los Mexicanos – Safe & Cheap Housing
We stayed in this neighborhood! It was around a 15-minute walk to the center but it was pretty close to the Barrio de El Cerrillo so we were closer to the coworking spaces. This neighborhood didn’t have many restaurants around so we always had to walk to the city center or Real de Guadalupe to get some delicious food.
San Cristobal de las Casas is very safe, in our opinion! The locals are very friendly and we could walk around at night without issues (again – our personal experience).
Our San Cristobal de las Casas Digital Nomad Apartment
We stayed in a 1 bedroom apartment/townhouse complete with a fully-stocked kitchen, living room plus a fireplace and our favorite part – an outdoor patio overlooking a garden. Our apartment was very tranquil and we had a really generous host!
The main problem was the wifi – we had speeds of 3 Mbps (waaay too slow for anyone)! We bought a wifi booster which made it fast enough to stream Netflix. So we can’t really recommend this place 100% for you unless they’ve fixed the wifi issue. Other than that, we had great nights of sleep because it was tranquil, super quiet at night and we didn’t hear any road noise!
What’s The Wifi / Internet Speed Like in San Cristobal de las Casas?
This was our biggest concern when considering to become San Cristobal de las Casas. All we knew about it was it was a small mountain town in Southern Mexico. Now, we don’t need ultra-fast wifi but we do need speeds of at least 15 Mbps and above (at minimum).
We were pleasantly surprised that there were decent coworking spaces in San Cristobal de las Casas. The fact that there were coworking spaces meant we had a place to run to if we need fast wifi. With that said, Matthew and I absolutely love coworking spaces and encourage digital nomads to join them whenever they can for various reasons.
The wifi speed in San Cristobal de las Casas ranged from 5Mbps to 85Mbps. We had slow wifi at our apartment which is probably the worst-case scenario. At Centralita coworking spaces, we had steady internet speeds of 33Mbps.
3 Best San Cristobal de las Casas Digital Nomad Co-working Spaces
Okay, okay…I’ve talked about coworking spaces so much already! Let’s get straight into the 3 coworking spaces San Cristobal de las Casas has to offer digital nomads, remote workers and full-time travelers.
Centralita Centro & El Cerrillo
The OG coworking space for San Cristobal de las Casas is Centralita Cowork. This coworking space offers decent wifi connections (30+Mbps), comfortable chairs, spacious desks and a nice work atmosphere. They opened 2 coworking locations – Centro & El Cerrillo. The El Cerrillo location opened a couple of weeks before we left and it was our favorite location of the two!
The Centralita Centro location has a bigger capacity but we did experience one issue while working from there. The space was really noisy – it got hard to concentrate on work! For some reason, they have set it up to have an enclosed quiet room (which you may or may not have to pay for) and you’re allowed to have your Zoom calls in the main room. Yeah…it wasn’t great to hear someone make a sales call while trying to write a blog post.
The Centralita El Cerrillo is a different case altogether – it’s quiet, tranquil and less busy. You get a beautiful view of the mountains surrounding the beautiful Mexican town and even a fireplace which makes it feel so cozy!
Co.404 Coliving & Coworking
If you’re looking for a welcoming digital nomad community – you’ll find it at Co.404 Coliving and Coworking. Located in the Los Mexicanos neighborhood, the owners have set up a beautiful space for digital nomads to connect, work and play.
While you have to stay at the coliving space in order to access the co-working space, it’s definitely worth considering. The coworking space has a good amount of desks and chairs for you to get focused work done. The co-living space also has a beautiful garden area and they actively try to get everyone to do activities together like a sunrise hike or a day trip to a waterfall nearby.
Cost of Living for San Cristobal de las Casas Digital Nomads
Now to the juicy part of this San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad guide!
Is it expensive?
Is rent affordable?
Is the value for money great?
How much is a cup of coffee?
What does a coworking space cost?
Those are all valid questions for any digital nomad to ask – cost is a big factor when deciding whether to travel to a certain digital nomad destination or not.
After 2.5 months living in San Cris, we calculated what we spent on average for 1 month and here it is:
The total monthly cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas for 2 people is $1,825 USD.
If you’re a solo digital nomad, your cost of living could be around half that at $912 USD.
We thought the rent was very reasonable and fair for what we got (and much cheaper than our Airbnb in Playa del Carmen). The weekend activities were relatively cheap, especially for full-day trips. Overall, we were pretty happy with the budget and we think you can definitely live in San Cristobal de las Casas for less but this was a pretty comfortable budget. It ultimately depends on you and the kind of digital nomad lifestyle you want to live there.
3 Cafes for San Cristobal de las Casas Digital Nomads to Work From
Is coworking not your thing? That’s totally fine – the whole point of being a digital nomad is having the freedom to choose!
Working from cafes is a great way to get out of the house if you work from home (WFH). These are the top 3 cafes San Cristobal de las Casas has to offer:
Our favorite cafe was Cafeologia. The minimalist design, the delectable coffee and the friendly staff…what’s not to like?!
They had decent wifi, and a good table and chairs to work from. However, we noticed a sticker on the table saying there’s a 1-hour limit to sit at each table. They didn’t kick us out if we went over so maybe it’s a lenient rule? Just be aware.
2. Libre Cafe
A quaint, local cafe with premium coffee from the plantations in Chiapas.
While it’s not the most aesthetic cafe – the coffee does pack a punch for the tastebuds. The table and chairs aren’t the most comfortable but it seemed like you could spend as long as you want there.
3. Frontera Artisan Cafe
Frontera Cafe is probably one of the most popular cafes in all of San Cristobal de las Casas – for good reason. You’ve got premium local coffee, a beautiful garden setting and delicious brunch food.
We worked from Frontera several times and while they didn’t care how long you stayed – it was really busy! You have to get there early to get a table near a plug outlet and the wifi can be spotty at times.
Is There A Digital Nomad Community in San Cristobal de las Casas?
A welcome, vibrant community is so vital for any digital nomad. It’s easy to get lonely while on your digital nomad journey (even as a couple like us) and a community helps every place you travel to feel like home.
San Cristobal de las Casas has a warm and open digital nomad community – if you can put yourself out there. I say that because it’s very rare people will come to you and digital nomads need to put themselves out there. Joining coworking spaces like Centralita Cowork is a great place to meet and make new friends.
If you’re struggling to make friends, we recommend staying at Co.404 Coliving because you’ll get an instant digital nomad family you can do all activities together.
Best Restaurants in San Cristobal de las Casas
Now that you’ve got digital nomads friends – visiting all the bars and restaurants San Cristobal de las Casas has to offer is a great way to hang out!
Here are just 5 of the 28 amazing restaurants we visited:
- Tacos – El Meson Del Taco
- Korean food – Casa de Ahn
- Pizza & beers – Pizzeria El Punto
- Fine dining – Lum by Hotel Bo
- Wine & Tapas – La Vina de Bacco
Once you’re a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad, you’ll quickly realize the wide variety of cuisines you can find in this small mountain town. We were shocked to find not one but multiple Korean restaurants were such a treat for us! Especially because when we were Playa del Carmen digital nomads – we barely found Asian food there!
Things To Do In San Cristobal de las Casas As Digital Nomads
You might be wondering…
What is there to do in a small, mountain town in the hills of Chiapas Mexico?
LOTS! Here are some of our favorite things we did while we were San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomads:
- Take a boat ride through the stunning Sumidero Canyon
- Day trip to see the Montebello Lakes & El Chiflon waterfall
- Visit the indigenous communities of San Juan Chamula and Zapantan
- Shop at the artisanal markets at Mercado de las Caridad y Santo Domingo
You can do day trips to different towns, do plenty of sunrise hikes, drive to catch some waterfalls and so much more.
Is San Cristobal de las Casas Safe For Digital Nomads?
Quick Answer: Yes.
We can only speak to our personal experience. We felt very safe during our whole 2.5 months as San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomads. The local people were so welcoming – whenever we passed anyone they always said greeted you with a “buenos dias”.
We didn’t mind walking around even late at night (around 10/11pm) and felt safe throughout the day. As always – no matter where you travel, be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Just make smart and safe choices.
Conclusion: Is Being A San Cristobal de las Casas Digital Nomad Worth A Try?
That’s the complete and practical San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad guide!
You’ve got all you need to focus on work, connect with other digital nomads and have fun exploring this beautiful magic town (Pueblo Magico). The coworking spaces are great, there’s a great variety of restaurants and bars and the cost of living is pretty low compared to other places in Mexico (ehem Playa and Tulum).
What’s not to like about this beautiful Mexican town?
The only cons we can think of are 1) unreliable mobile data and 2) cold weather. While it’s great to have steady wifi at the coworking spaces, it was annoying to walk around the town and consistently lose our mobile data signal. The cold weather also got too much for us by the time we left and we started to hate going out (but we also just hate the cold so don’t take that to heart). Pick the right time to visit and you won’t have to endure the cold like us!
We never had San Cris on our radar before but after discovering (and vetting) this hidden gem, we hope you will enjoy your time there as a digital nomad!