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“Best experience of Mexico - Don't miss it”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of San Juan Chamula

San Juan Chamula
Book In Advance
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$18.75*
and up
Chamula and Zinacantan Indigenous Villages Tour
Ranked #53 of 391 things to do in Pacific Coast
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This Del Pueblo Temple embodies a blend of prehistoric, Mayan and Catholic traditions and influences
Ubud, Indonesia
Level Contributor
99 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Best experience of Mexico - Don't miss it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2014

After 3 months in Mexico today we visited San Juan Chamula with Cesar from Alex and Raul Tours. This is not a tourist attraction, this is real life in this village of Mayan descendants. This is a very unique village and I don't want to spoil it by detailing it, just go! Our experience and understanding of the culture and rituals being preformed was great enhanced by Cesar. We could not have begun to have any idea had he not been explaining as we were going along. Cesar was passionate about this village and clearly highly respected among the local people. If you're in Chiapas, I highly recommend a visit here with this company, you will not be disappointed.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank worldlywisenz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Worth half a day”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2014

Despite the rest of the reviews recommending a tour, you really don't need one unless you have a special interest in what's going on in the church. Even then, there are guides outside offering to give you a run down once you get there. We caught a colectivo from the street near Santa Domingo markets in the morning, just wander down until you see one with "Chamula" on it (the drivers are used to spotting lost-looking tourists and will shout out for you). It cost $15 pesos one way and takes about 20 minutes. They drop you at the main plaza where we were lucky enough to encounter a fiesta complete with horse-riding locals and hand-held sky rockets. You pay at the tourism office on the west side of the plaza for church entry, where they remind you not to take photos. There's also markets with local handicrafts in the plaza and down the street.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Kirsty J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“interesting church”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 25, 2014

We took a tour with a guide, which I would advise. Our guide had some interesting little stories, as well as making sure that no one took pictures. Unfortunately, the locals can become quite upset at any picture taking. They are mostly Tzotzil indians, a branch of the Maya. The church of San Juan is not like any church I have ever been in before as it appears to be a Christian church, but in reality is a blend of Indian practices which co-exist with the "worship" of some old and vaguely creepy statues of saints. I have read that sometimes a chicken will be sacrificed, and many of the prayers/rituals are to rid people possessed by evil spirits. The people are not particularly friendly, and it is advised that you respect their area while visiting.

Visited March 2014
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Thank joyouswanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hayling Island, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
124 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Go with a good guide”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2014

It is interesting to see this town inhabited by some of the indigenous people of Mexico, but to understand it, it is worth going with a good guide. On our own, much of what we saw would not have had any significance. Seeing the church is interesting, but understanding the place of Roman Catholicism in relation to the local beliefs is what it is really all about.

Visited February 2014
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2 Thank CED
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
77 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Cesar's tour to San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2014

This is a fascinating half-day tour from San Cristobal. No advance booking is necessary, you simply go down to the large cross in front of the Cathedral around 9:30 am and Cesar who conducts the tours will be there. He charges 200 pesos per person and it is well worth it. Cesar has considerable knowledge of the history and customs of the indigenous people in this part of Mexico. He carefully explains their culture and ceremonies. On Sundays, you can observe the meeting of the village councils, all the participants colourfully dressed, and most fascinating of all, view the ceremonies in the local church at Chamula, where the people now practice a blend of shaman rituals and Catholicism. The floor of the church is covered in pine needles, the people sit on the floor among blazing candles, along with the shaman who will slaughter a chicken as part of the rituals. The smell of the pine, the smoke from the incense, the candlelight, the flowers, makes it a little surreal. Be warned: no photos are permitted of these rituals, and the local village police enforce this rule. There are also colourful markets in each of the villages and a visit to a family weaving business is also included in the trip. The items were of good quality and incredibly cheap, with no pressure to buy. Don’t miss this intriguing glimpse into the lives of some of the local people.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank mblp31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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