DRIVING TIME: 8 hours
HWY: CA 200 & CA 195
You got two options at this juncture—go into the mountains and spend some time in San Cristobal de Las Casas or drive south along the coast through Salina Cruz. For the coastal route, jump to the section Puerto Escondido to Tapachula.
After leaving Puerto Escondido, the roads are bad, in fact, from Puerto Escondido to San Cristobal de Las Casas, they are extremely bad. This is a confusing drive, so follow these directions and your maps carefully. You want to head for Salina Cruz and then for La Ventosa. At Salina Cruz, the road changes to CA 185 for a short distance and then to CA 190—do not use CA 200 as a reference.
Most signs after Salina Cruz read both CA 185 and CA 190. The road forks at Tapanatepec. CA 190 leads to San Cristobal de Las Casas and CA 200 leads to the cities in the south: Tapachula, Ciudad Hidalgo, and Talisman. For those traveling to San Cristobal de Las Casas, follow the signs to La Ventosa and then on to Tuxtla Guitierrez. After entering Tuxtla Gutierrez, veer right and follow the signs to Chipa de Corzo and then to San Cristobal de Las Casas.
Hotels & Eats
Driving in San Cristobal de Las Casas is very agitating. There are several hotels on the outskirts of town, and everything is within walking distance of the center. A good place to sleep is The Maya. The Maya is located about two blocks past the Pemex station on the left as you enter the town. There are two big iron gates at the front, closed at night, and excellent security for your vehicle. The Maya has hot showers and friendly service. There are plenty of great restaurants in San Cristobal de Las Casas. You are in for a gastronomic delight.
Be cautious driving through Chiapas. You’re in the heartland of people that have been struggling to preserve their identity for years. Before driving from Puerto Escondido, pick up a newspaper or talk with a local Mexican to determine the present situation in the area. This region of Mexico is like no other, both politically and aesthetically. Pine trees, green forests, and cool days permeate this stretch of Mexico. However, the greatest asset of this territory is the people. Chiapas is home to a large population of indigenous people. It’s a wonderful place.
A Fork In The Road
At Puerto Escondido, you may follow the coast to the Guatemalan border, or you may enter from the mountains near San Cristobal de Las Casas. If you are not returning with your vehicle to North America, you must travel to the border entry points at Talisman or CD Hidalgo to process your Mexican vehicle paperwork.
Don’t forget that the road splits at Tapanatepec. If you’re heading towards the mountains, you’re going the right way to San Cristobal de Las Casas. Those following the coastal route are urged to follow the signs to Tapachula.
Next Section of Drive
San Cristobal de Las Casas – Cuauhtémoc (Route 1 Cont.)