San Cristóbal is easily one of the most beautiful towns in Mexico. With colonial architecture dating back 400 years, gorgeous mountains all around, and every daytime facility and nighttime party hangout you could ask for, it's easy to see why everyone told me that I must visit this place. It's also the coldest place I've visited in Mexico, due to its altitude of over 2000 metres above sea level.
Typical San Cristóbal street.
I spent two nights here in San Cristóbal, and I found it to be a great place to take it easy and to fix up various odds and ends for a while. There isn't that much to do in town during the day — which is why numerous tours are available to take you to nearby sights and sounds — but the town itself is so quaint, that it warrants at least a few hours spent wandering around, getting a feel for the place.
This place is nice, but it has some serious shortcomings. It's definitely not the partygoer's hostel: after 10pm (yes, 10pm — ridiculously early!), they lock the front door, and you have to bang on it for up to a minute to get back in. The crowd was nice when I was here; but I heard that the crowd is much better over at the Backpacker's Hostel. I should have gone there instead; although I was happy with somewhere a bit quieter, I still like a good vibrant community. This time, Lonely Planet recommendations, you let me down.
Rather than catch a bus from Palenque to San Cristóbal, Alan and I decided to make the journey via colectivo (shared taxi / minibus). This was the first time I've undertaken a major intercity journey by colectivo, and all up, it was a great experience at a great price. Colectivos may be a little slower, and a little less comfortable (than buses), but they're also way more fun, and they get you where you're going, same as a bus does.