We got an early start after eating breakfast at the hotel. We planned to buy our usual daily supply of water on the way out of town, but it was too early, and none of the stores were open yet. We had a little left over from the previous day, so we continued on our way.
The hills of the Chiapas Highlands were just as tough as yesterday. The inital 50km stretch seemed to be almost all uphill, until we were able to coast to our lunch stop in the city of Oxchuc. I thought I was ordering a fried chicken filet, but I ended up getting chicken stew, but it was good anyway. Ray got chicken with some mole sauce that was incredible. Before getting going again, we were able to stock up on water at a mini-super next to the cafe.
The climbing continued again, until finally we had a 5km descent into the village of Huixtán. It started raining, so we ducked under a bus stop shelter to keep dry. We noticed it was almost 3:00pm, about the same time as we had to make a decision yesterday. Just then, a pickup truck for hire pulled up, so we waved and jumped in, having learned our lesson. The rain stayed pretty steady as the highway climbed some more, then cleared up as we finally descended to the city of San Cristobol de las Casas.
We rode into the central area of town. We stopped into inquire about the rate at the first hotel we saw. It was a good deal, and looked to be a nice place, but while I was waiting outside, a buy handed me a pamphlet for a youth hostel a few block away. It looked nice, and the price was even better, so we decided to go look for it. On the way, it started raining again, but there were a lot of other hotels and hostels in the area, and we found one that was nice and cheap before we could find the one we were originally looking for.
This town seemed to be even more of a tourist destination than Palenque, as we saw many Americans and Europeans. The large number of hostels also makes it a great stop for cyclists, backpackers, and other travelers on a budget. The scenery in the city includes a lot of historic architecture from the Spanish colonial period. There is also a several-block area with many upscale shops and restaurants. We eventually found a nice but moderately-priced restaurant, and enjoyed a very good meal before heading back to the hostel. We stopped at a store and bought a carton of milk and a box of Frosted Flaked (a.k.a. “Zucharitas”) to eat for breakfast. We ended up getting a little lost on the way, and flagged down a taxi. He drove us about a block and a half to the hostel, so we ended up being closer than we thought!
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