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The Expat and Digital Nomad Guide to Coworking and Living in San Cristobal de las Casas

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Looking for up-to-date information on living in San Cristobal de las Casas? Discover what makes this mountain town one of the best places for digital nomads and ex-pats in Mexico!

San Cristobal de las Casas is the cultural center of one of Mexico’s most exciting states, Chiapas. The city has been designated a ‘pueblo magico’ for its rich indigenous culture, the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture of its old town, and the natural beauty of the surrounding region.

As San Cristobal continues to mature, it is fast becoming one of the best places in Mexico for digital nomads looking for a new home or temporary base. The town has good (and constantly improving) infrastructure, a fantastic year-round climate, and a myriad of options when it comes to arts, entertainment, culture, and dining. Despite this, San Cristobal remains incredibly affordable. Beyond the city, the state of Chiapas has some of Mexico’s most beautiful natural treasures and fascinating historical sites.

Is San Cristobal a good place to live for Expats and Digital Nomads?

Real de Guadalupe in San Cristobal de las Casas
living in san cristobal de las casas is great for digital nomads and expats
San Cristobal is becoming one of Mexico’s most liveable cities

Yes!

Long recognized as a place of rich culture and stunning natural beauty, its remote location has meant that infrastructure including clean water, healthcare, and reliable internet has lagged behind other Mexican destinations. But this is no longer the case. Today, San Cristobal is home to modern cafes, international restaurants, dedicated co-working spaces, and accommodation designed from the ground up with ex-pats and digital travelers in mind.

San Cristobal experiences cool winters and mild summers. The altitude provides a welcome respite from the otherwise warm subtropical climate of southern Mexico. The cool winters are mostly dry, while humidity and rain are common in the summer months.

San Cristobal is also the jumping-off point to reach the incredible historical and natural treasures for which Chiapas is known. Caves, waterfalls, cultural celebrations, canyons, and ancient Mayan ruins hidden in the jungle are scattered throughout Chiapas. Living in San Cristobal de las Casas means a new adventure every weekend!

Connectivity in San Cristobal de las Casas for Digital NOmads

If you are considering San Cristobal as a base for remote work, you will be pleased to know that reliable, moderately fast internet is now widely available.

Wifi Speeds in San Cristobal

Wifi speeds average 24mps in San Cristobal, though some connections will be faster, as fast as 80mbs and some much slower. Depending on your bandwidth needs, confirming the available speeds in accommodation or coworking spaces before you book or arrive is recommended.

Mobile Data in San Cristobal

When it comes to cellular data, Tel Cel has the best coverage and speeds in San Cristobal offering 4g and 4g+ throughout the town.

Download rates range from 5mbs to 20+mbs dependent on location and network congestion. That being said, cell phone coverage is not the best in San Cristobal when compared to other towns we have visited. The wifi speeds, however, make being a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad easy.

The best place to get a SIM card is at a TelCel store that way a representative can help you get the SIM card set up. The cost of a SIM card should cost approximately $100 pesos. TelCel offers a range of packages for mobile data that can be used as a hot spot if needed.

Coworking San Cristobal de las Casas

More and more coworking spaces are appearing in San Cristobal all the time

When it comes to finding somewhere to work from, San Cristobal has you covered. Today, there are upwards of nine offices in San Cristobal that offer dedicated coworking spaces. Generally, they have wifi, workspaces, private booths, meeting space, and tea and coffee. Some have food, accommodation, or other services available as well.

Many offer high-speed fiber optic internet, although not the fastest in Mexico, averaging between 20mbs and 30mbs, it is sufficient to conduct video calls and meetings.

When it comes to our favorites and the most popular coworking San Cristobal de las Casas offices, here are our picks.

13 Cielos Hostel & Co-Work

Previously a hostel dedicated to digital nomads and world travelers, 13 Cielos Hostel & Co-Work has recently had a major overhaul and now offers one of the best co-working experiences in San Cristobal de las Casas. 13 Cielos has plenty of comfortable dedicated workspaces including private office spaces. They also offer fiber optic cable delivering blazing fast internet. Daily breakfast and tea are included with your daily or weekly pass. For those also needing somewhere to stay, 13 Cielos is one of the best hostels in town designed with digital nomads in mind.

  • Wifi: 100mbs+
  • Day pass $6.5 USD | Weekly $32 USD | Monthly $97 USD
  • 8am – 10 pm

Centralita: The Most Convenient Coworking Space San Cristobal de las Casas

Centralia is San Cristobal’s original coworking space with a large following. It now has two locations in San Cristobal, Centralita Centro and Centralia Cerrillo. Both are highly recommended. They have first-class facilities, fast wifi, and great spaces. You’ll find digital nomads from all over the world working from Centralita.

  • Wifi: 30mbs+
  • Day pass $6.5 USD | Monthly $84 USD
  • Centralita Centro Mon – Fri 7:30 am – 9:00 pm | Sat – Sun 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Centralita Cerrillo Mon – Fri 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Brücken: The Best Wifi Coworking Space San Cristobal de las Casas

San Cristobal’s new contender is Brücken which is throwing its hat in the ring for the city’s best co-working space. With fiber optic cable, beautiful spaces, and 24-hour access, it has plenty to offer digital nomads working across multiple timezones or requiring a lot of bandwidth.

Brücken has fast wifi and a decent space to work. The only downside to Brücken is the location which is a 1/5 kilometer walk from the city center.

  • Wifi: Up to 260mbs+
  • Day pass $5 USD | Monthly $50 USD
  • 24/7

Where to Stay in San Cristobal de las Casas

There are plenty of great places to stay in San Cristobal de las Casas whether you are traveling to work on an extended vacation or relocating longer term.

From charming hostels to boutique hotels, stylish and convenient Airbnb spaces, and more economical basic rental accommodation, there is something here for any budget, style, or length of stay.

Best Suburbs in San Cristobal de las Casas

Anywhere close to the center is a great place to stay in San Cristobal. The city is extremely walkable and the Zona Centro and surrounding neighborhoods have everything you need to work, rest, and play.

Popular suburbs include:

Zona Centro

Zona Centro is the historic city center. It is where you will find most of the oldest buildings in San Cristobal and many of the attractions to visit in the city such as the San Cristobal de las Casas Cathedral. It is also where you will find most tourists bustling up and down the busy streets and around the main plazas.

Barrio El Cerillo

The beautiful Barrio el Cerillo is just north of the Zona Centro. This is the neighborhood where you will find most other San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomads living. Barrio el Cerillo is convenient enough to get to the city center without the hassle of bumping into international tourists every day. Barrio el Cerillo is also home to many of the best restaurants and cafes in town as well as a handful of coworking spaces, perfect for digital nomads.

Barrio Guadalupe

Barrio Guadalupe located further along Real de Guadalupe is one of the best neighborhoods in San Cristobal if you enjoy eating. Home to many favorite restaurants in town, you will never be too far from a good meal here in Barrio de Guadalupe.

Barrio de los Mexicanos

Barrio de los Mexicanos is the most local of all the barrios on this list of the best places for a San Crisotbal de las Casas digital nomad. It is also the neighborhood where you will find the cheapest accommodation. It is close to a handful of coworking spaces, however, you will need to walk a bit if you want to visit many of the best international restaurants in San Cristobal.

Hostels, Hotels and Short Term Accommodation

If you are staying in San Cristobal de las Casas on a temporary basis or need a base from which to search for a longer-term solution then there are a range of accommodation options that support remote working.

Budget: 13 Cielos Hostel & Co-Work

Hostel 13 Cielos, the perfect base to explore San Cristobal …and beyond

When it comes to value for money, atmosphere, and capturing the spirit of San Cristobal de las Casas, the charming and economical 13 Cielos Hostel and Co-Work is the best choice in town. The hostel has recently overhauled to provide some of the best co-working spaces in the city too.

The founders of 13 Cielos, which means thirteen heavens, have traveled the world working remotely. They know what digital nomads want when it comes to facilities, economy, and an awesome atmosphere to connect with other like-minded travelers from all over the world.

13 Cielos Hostel is a place for travelers to come together, meet, and share experiences. Expect a warm welcome, a friendly atmosphere, and a relaxed vibe that encourages guests to be part of the community through well-designed common spaces, organized activities, and charming hosts.

The hostel and co-work facilities include everything the digital nomad needs at a fantastic price.

High-Speed Fibre Optic Wi-Fi provides download speeds of 115 Mbps and an upload speed of 15 Mbps, some of the best wifi in San Cristobal. They also offer a well-equipped kitchen, and clean facilities. You’ll find plenty of communal spaces to work and socialize. Adding to the atmosphere of the hostel is the garden and colorful art throughout.

13 Cielos is located right in the center of town so you will be able to walk everywhere you need to go.

The staff organizes regular activities and has a wealth of knowledge about San Cristobal and Chiapas. You can also arrange tours and activities through the hostel.

13 Cielos offers some of the most affordable accommodation in town. Dormitory beds are available for just $6 USD per night and private rooms from $26 USD per night.

Mid-Range: Sombre de Agua

Hotel Sombra del Agua located in the city center is a great option when visiting San Cristobal de las Casas. The hotel’s beautiful architecture dates back to 1907. It was one of the first hotels established in the area.

Outside of its historic significance and the innate beauty of the building, the rooms are the epitome of comfort. Spacious, well-appointed rooms with friendly staff, all make for a comfortable stay.

Other Accommodation in San Cristobal

There is a range of other options for both short and medium-term accommodation to suit any style or budget.

Booking.com

Long-term Accommodation San Cristobal de las Casas

Airbnb

Airbnb is popular in San Cristobal, and there is a range of options available to suit any budget. Many of the options in San Cristobal include dedicated workspaces which mean a desk for you to work from as a San Cristobal de las Casas digital nomad.

Many Airbnbs offer significant discounts if you stay for one month or more. As services and infrastructure can vary from place to place, it’s important to check with Airbnb hosts to confirm that their property will meet your needs when it comes to services and connectivity.

Long Term Apartment Rentals

There are a number of real estate agencies in San Cristobal that help you find apartment rentals on a longer basis. Check out listings from Intergal here.

How much does it cost to live in San Cristobal de las Casas?

Mexican Pesos Money
How much does living in San Cristobal really cost?

The cost of living in San Cristobal de las Casas will obviously fluctuate depending on your lifestyle, however, it’s entirely possible to live comfortably for under $1,000 USD per month in this town, or as a couple for $1,500 USD.

You can find tidy, centrally located, furnished apartments for $500 USD per month.

Part-time access to a co-working space costs around $60 USD per month.

Topping up your Tel Cel sim card should cost around $20 USD per month for 8gb of data, plenty if you have wifi.

Groceries are cheap. Shop at the Mercado for the best prices but practice your Spanish and shop around to avoid the gringo tax.

Transportation shouldn’t cost you anything in this very walkable town.

Weekend adventures can be organized through tour agencies for between $15 USD and $75. The frugal and adventurous can tackle the public colectivo and bus system for a few pesos (1 or 2 dollars).

Street food and local restaurants will fill you up for $2.5 – $5 USD while a mid-range meal at one of the awesome international and concept restaurants in San Cristobal will cost around $5 – $8 USD.

Chiapas is renowned for growing coffee so it makes sense that there are some fantastic cafes in San Cristobal as well. A cup of coffee will set you back $1.50 – $2.50 USD.

San Cristobal has a vibrant nightlife with a number of great bars. A domestic beer costs around $1.50 USD and a glass of wine between $1.25 USD and $2.50 USD.

Laundry cost about $1 USD per kilo.

Example $1,000 Monthly Budget

  • Rent: $500
  • Coworking: $60
  • Groceries: $140
  • Mobile Data : $20
  • Tours and Activities: $100
  • Eating Out: $100
  • Bars: $50
  • Coffee: $20
  • Laundry: $10

What is the best time of year to visit and live in Cristobal de las Casas?

The best time to visit or live in San Cristobal is in the winter months. Although it gets cold overnight, the winter means the dry season and the best weather. In winter, temperatures can get down to around 4 degrees overnight. Days remain mild and cool around 20 degrees.

Summer is still mild with temperatures ranging from 10 degrees to 24 degrees. However, frequent rain and high humidity can be disruptive and uncomfortable.

Is San Cristobal de las Casas Mexico safe?

San Cristobal de las Casas is generally safe especially compared to other parts of Mexico and other parts of Chiapas.

Like other parts of Mexico, it is safest to stay off the streets after dark.

If you plan to explore areas outside the center, you should ask for local advice and travel in groups.

Outside of San Cristobal, Chiapas is one of the poorest states in Mexico and the rates of petty crime are high. Cases of road blockades, bandits, and corrupt officials have been reported in several regions and proper care and research should be taken before traveling.

One serious safety concern in San Cristobal is food poisoning. The tap water is not drinkable and care should be taken to eat at clean, restaurants with good reputations. When cooking, wash and prepare food properly. Even being careful, if you stay long enough in San Cristobal, there is a significant chance you will get food poisoning.

Where can I learn spanish in San Cristobal de las Casas?

Living in a new place offers a great opportunity to learn a new skill. What better way to spend your downtime than learning a new language while living in San Cristobal de las Casas.

The San Cris Spanish Language School offers tuition for all levels of Spanish learners with professional, supportive teachers and enjoyable classes.

Best Cafes in San Cristobal de las Casas

Chiapas is one of Mexico’s premier coffee-producing regions, so it makes sense that there would be great coffee artisans in this town. Besides fantastic coffee, many cafes offer a great place to work from when you need a break from your apartment or co-working space.

Frontera Artisan

For the complete list of our favorite cafes in San Cristobal check out The 6 Best Cafes in San Cristobal de las Casas. Our favorites are:

  1. Frontera Artisan
  2. Amor Negro
  3. Carajillo Expendio

Best Restaurants in San Cristobal de las Casas

One thing that really surprised us about San Cristobal was the phenomenal quality and range of restaurants here. Not just fantastic Mexican food, but international flavors from all over the world. Indian curries, Korean fried chicken, Italian spaghetti, Argentinian barbecue and so much more!

Check out our complete list of the best restaurants in San Cristobal! Here’s a taste of some of our favorites:

  1. Achiote Cochinita Pibil
  2. Asiarico7
  3. Casa de Ahn

Best Bars in San Cristobal de las Casas

San Cristobal has a busy and vibrant nightlife, filled with locals, visitors, and the national and international expats that call San Cristobal home.

Some of our favorite bars are:

  1. La Vina de Bacco
  2. Kinoki Cultural Centre, Cinema, Restaurant and Bar
  3. Café Bar Revolución

The top ten things to do in San Crisotbal de las Casas

Street art in San Cristobal de las Casas

Living in San Cristobal de las Casas means you have plenty of time to discover and enjoy all of the great things on offer here. From beautiful churches to cultural experiences, there is plenty to keep you busy. Here are our top 10 things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas.

  1. See the Cathedral of San Cristobal
  2. Shop at the Mercado Muncipal de San Cristóbal de las Casa
  3. Swing by the Casa de la Cultura
  4. Wander San Cristobal with a Free Walking Tour
  5. Hike to the Guadalupe Church 
  6. Cook up a storm with Steps 
  7. Pop into in the Kinoki Cultural Centre
  8. Weave through the Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya
  9. Visit the Asociación Cultural Na Bolom
  10. Drop in to the Arteria Chiapas

READ MORE: 17 of the Best Things to Do in San Cristobal de las Casas

Top Ten Things to Do in Chiapas

El Chiflon, Chiapas

Chiapas is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty and the well preserved Mayan ruins that lie hidden in the jungle. There are so many fantastic adventures in Chiapas you would be hard-pressed to visit them all while living in San Cristobal de las Casas. Check out our full list of more than 21 of the best things to do in Chiapas.

  1. Get swept up in the colour of the Fiesta Grande Chiapa de Corzo
  2. Experience the mighty El Chiflon
  3. Get lost in Palenque
  4. Dive in to Cenote Cumaltik
  5. Relax at Lagos de Colon
  6. See the colours of the Lagos de Montebello
  7. Witness the Agua Azul
  8. Take in the sunset from Uninajab
  9. Uncover Yaxchilán
  10. Feel the power of Las Nubes

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Hopefully, we have answered your questions about life in San Cristobal de las Casas, but if you do have a question or comment please let us know below.

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