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Living as a Digital Nomad in San Cristobal de las Casas

Living as a Digital Nomad in San Cristobal de las Casas

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Thinking of trying out San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico as a digital nomad? Located in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, San Cristobal is a destination that lots of people pass through for a few days and others end up staying a while after being captivated by the town’s beauty and way of life.

With beautiful parks to explore on the weekends, plenty of hikes and day trip opportunities, an underground art scene, convenient co-working spaces, and not to mention relative affordability – there are so many reasons people land in San Cristobal and stay a while.

Here’s a digital nomad guide if you want to try this magical town out on your next Mexico adventure.

How Is the WiFi in San Cristobal de las Casas?

Lots of expat chat groups and message boards are full of questions about the WiFi situation in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. Not a week goes by without someone new posting questions like, “How good is the WiFi in San Cristobal? I need a stable internet connection.”

For the most part, San Cristobal de las Casas has good WiFi and it will be reliable for your daily work tasks if you’re a digital nomad. If you have an internet connection with a working router in your accommodation and you live in the center of the city, there won’t be many (or any) issues.

However, the internet can be spotty at times in San Cristobal, so keep that in mind. Don’t depend on it being fully efficient late at night. And there have been reports of the internet cutting out from time to time if there’s bad weather, but it’s still pretty sporadic.

If you’re staying outside of the city in the neighborhoods of San Ramon or San Nicolas, then you’ll either have to rely on your own hotspot or make sure that your accommodation offers stable WiFi.

Already arrived in the city? Here are some of the best things to do in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico. If you plan to stay for a while, be sure to check out this entire Chiapas itinerary so you don’t miss out on the best things to do in this beautiful state.

san cristobal de las casas views

The town of San Cristobal de las Casas is so lush and beautiful. If you want a peaceful place surrounded by natural beauty, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Co-working Spaces For Digital Nomads in San Cristobal de las Casas

Many digital nomads enjoy working remotely in San Cristobal de las Casas, and as a result, there’s a handful of great co-working spaces scattered throughout the city that cater to international digital nomads and locals alike.

If you have a job where you need to be constantly on video calls or even have two or three devices going at the same time, then it’s recommended to get a daily or monthly pass for co-working space so that you’re guaranteed a good and stable WiFi connection.

Here are some of the top co-working offices in San Cristobal:

Centralita Cerillo

Centralita Cerillo is one of the two Centralita co-working spaces for digital nomads in San Cristobal. The Cerillo location is a cozy space, complete with a large room with desks for working, a coffee and water station and even a fireplace. If it’s a nice day out, there’s a beautiful garden with a few desks and tables scattered throughout for working. The owners here are so sweet and are passionate about their work. This is my personal choice for the best co-working space in San Cristobal!

A bonus for Centralita is that membership comes with a mailing address. If you’ve been on the road as a digital nomad long enough, then you know how important it is to have a mailing address!

Co.404 Co-working/Co-living

This San Cristobal co-working space is a little outside of town in Barrio de Mexicanos, but it gets rave reviews from digital nomads and wanderers looking for a place to unwind and connect with other travelers. It’s mixed with a co-living space, so 404 really provides the whole experience without having to leave the property.

Your stay will come with unlimited Fiber WiFi, and the house has a shared kitchen, a bonfire pit, a game room, a Netflix room, and a terrace area with a BBQ. While the daily prices here are on the higher end for San Cristobal, they offer a 40% discount for monthly stays.

coworking at a table with laptops

For such a small town, there is a wonderful community of digital nomads here who you can cowork with or simply hang out with when you’re not working.

Centralita Centro

This Centralita is the more central location on Flavio A. Paniagua street. The two floors of this open space is typically buzzing with people on their laptops all day. There’s also a few private rooms available for rent by the hour if you need to take a call. There’s also a little canteen here with food and drink for sale so you don’t have to go out for food.

If you have to work late, Centralita Centro is open until 9 on weeknights. Another bonus of this location is that it’s open on the weekends from 9 to 5.

Expert tip: When paying for the co-working space, always make sure to get a receipt for when you need to file your taxes!

Best Neighborhoods in San Cristobal de las Casas

When arriving in San Cristobal as a digital nomad, make some time in your schedule to really explore the different areas to get to know your new temporary home. Once you get a sense of the city, you’ll know which neighborhoods you vibe with and how close they are to your favorite cafes, bars, and restaurants.

To help you prepare for your trip, here’s a look at some of the best neighborhoods (barrios) in San Cristobal de las Casas.

Santa Lucia

This neighborhood is one of the oldest barrios in San Cristobal. Located just south of Centro, it was developed in 1594 and still houses some of the prettiest buildings in town. You’ll find lots of hostels and boutique hotels in this neighborhood, and it’s one of the best areas to wander if you’re in the mood to discover some hidden cafes or restaurants. Santa Lucia is also where you’ll find San Cristobal’s ADO bus station.

white VW beetle in front of colorful colonial buildings

The different neighborhoods in San Cristobal will make you feel like you’ve moved to a small village rather than a popular tourist town.

La Merced

La Merced is also an historic San Cristobal neighborhood, about a 10-minute walk west of the city center. Here you’ll find some attractions like the Museo del Ambar, Iglesia de San Cristobalito, some of the best Thai food in the city, and Plaza de la Merced.

On that Thai food: This place is so small and the sign is so modest that most tourists miss this place. But it’s hands-down some of the best Thai food in all of Mexico. There’s only a few tables and they open around 12 or 1 and close when the food runs out. It’s simply called Comida Thai, and located on the street that’s parallel to the church.

San Cristobal Centro

This is the commercial center of San Cristobal, and the little barrio of Centro packs a lot of restaurants and boutiques in its few blocks. Located here is Plaza 31 de Marzo, the center of the city and a popular meeting point at any time of day.

Then walk up and down the Andador on the bustling Guadalupe Street, which is the heart of town and the best way to introduce yourself to the magic of San Cristobal de las Casas. This neighborhood is also home to the famous night market by the San Cristobal Cathedral.

Barrio de Guadalupe

Head further east down Guadalupe Street towards the namesake church and you’re in the charming Barrio de Guadalupe. This neighborhood houses some of the best arts and culture spots in the city, from indie art galleries to Naufragio, a popular bar with live music on weekends.

San Nicolas

This neighborhood is on the way to Parque El Encuentro and it’s just outside of town. There are a few lovely cabanas here if you’re looking for a more laid-back, outdoorsy getaway during your stay in San Cristobal.

the streets of san cristobal de las casas mexico

The town is incredibly walkable and easy to navigate around once you get to know it.

Customs and What Not to Do as a Digital Nomad

San Cristobal is different than cities on the west coast as well as major cities like Mexico City and Monterrey. Just west of the Yucatan Peninsula, San Cristobal de las Casas has a little bit of everything.

There’s a large Indigenous population, which is mostly the Tzotzils and the Tzeltals peoples. When visiting this city, it’s always important to be respectful of the local culture and customs.

And while San Cristobal is relatively affordable for lots of international digital nomads, remember that the daily wage for an average worker in Mexico is very low. One thing not to do while living in San Cristobal as a digital nomad is to say “it’s so cheap!” when the meal you just enjoyed is more than a day’s wages for many residents.

Also, don’t forget to tip your servers (10-15% of the total bill is currently the norm for international travelers) and be polite – it will go a long way.

Getting Around San Cristobal as a Digital Nomad

Most digital nomads don’t use a car or a bike to get around San Cristobal. The city isn’t very big at all, especially when compared to Mexico City or even Oaxaca, so most people walk to get around. And frankly, the narrow, cobblestone roads are much more pedestrian-friendly than they are for cars and bikes.

Nothing takes more than 20 minutes in San Cristobal (of course, that depends on your walking speed and how many friends you bump into along the way for a chat) so it’s a great city to get your step count up.

The closest airport to San Cristobal de las Casas is Tuxtla Airport, which is about a 90-minute drive away. Taxis to or from the airport currently start at 600 pesos, and the airport bus is 250 pesos.

The ADO bus station in Santa Lucia offers lots of connections to other popular destinations in Chiapas and beyond.

main street of san cristobal de las casas

The centro area of San Cristobal is one of my favorites for grabbing dinner and drinks.

What About the Visa Situation?

US, Canadian, EU members, British Citizens, and holders of a US Visa, as well as many other international tourists typically get 180 days on their tourist visa when first arriving in Mexico by land or air. 

At the time of writing, there aren’t any other documents you need if you want to stay in San Cristobal for your entire time in Mexico as a digital nomad, other than your passport. Just make sure to keep your arrival card (called the FMM) with you during your stay, because you’ll be asked for it when leaving Mexico. It’s best to keep your FMM together with your passport, as you’ll be asked for it at some points throughout your trip, like when checking into a hotel or even on a bus.

And if you plan on trying out the digital nomad life in San Cristobal, check if your job will allow you to work from a remote location before setting off on your trip. However, this won’t be an issue if you’re a freelancer.

hills of colonial town in mexico

There are so many places to explore while living in San Cristobal as a digital nomad.

Is San Cristobal a Safe Place To Live?

Safety is relative, but there are endless reports of tourists and digital nomads feeling safe 24/7 when living in San Cristobal. It’s a small city where everyone knows each other, which is an advantage as much as it can be a disadvantage. Reports of crime are also relatively low compared to other cities in North America and it has remained very low over the past few decades.

Being a digital nomad can give you inspiration, a new perspective on life, some new friendships that may last a lifetime. and the ability to sample new and delicious foods along the way. If you have the privilege to do so, then San Cristobal de las Casas is an amazing destination to try this lifestyle out for a few weeks or months.

Start Your Mexico Trip Here

Want to temporarily relocate to Mexico as a digital nomad? Here are a few other amazing places in Mexico worth checking out. If you are considering a complete move to the country, check out the safest cities to live as well as the best places to retire.