San Cristobal de las Casas is a city located in the central highlands region of the southernmost Mexican state of Chiapas. Among the sites on the planned itinerary are the modern cities of Chiapa de Corzo and Comitán, and well as the indigenous villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán and the Mayan archeological sites of Pelenque, Yaxchilan and Bonampak. Other destinations include the Zoomat city zoo, the beautiful Sumidero Canyon and the magnificent waterfalls of Agua Azul, Misol Ha, and Velo de Novia.
San Cristobal is one of six cities throughout the world that have been named “sister cities” through Asheville Sister Cities International. Asheville’s “sister cities” are chosen based on similar population, geography and cultural interests.
“I think people will be amazed how much Chiapas looks like western North Carolina,” Clemons said. “It’s a beautiful mountainous area full of wonderful, welcoming people whose cultural interests include folk music, as well as arts and crafts, like weaving and pottery -- even liquor making!”
Clemons, who has led several such trips, said Chiapas is an especially good location in which to experience Mexico because it is not as popular with visitors as some better-known locations.
“This is a very personal, quaint trip, that I planned myself. Chiapas is a place that I always enjoy returning to,” Clemons said. “I think experiencing another culture is a very important thing for college students as well as adults. And because Chiapas is ‘off the beaten path,’ those who do come are able to get a glimpse of a different concept of Mexican culture.”
Students from Mars Hill College, as well as representatives from Asheville Sister Cities will be part of the trip, but several additional slots are available. Trip participants need not speak Spanish. Clemons and an additional bi-lingual guide will will provide interpreting and cultural input. The trip cost of approximately $1800 per person covers lodging, airfare, entrance to all sites on the official itinerary, and one meal per day. Participants will be responsible for additional meals and spending money.
For more information, please contact Dr. Greg Clemons at firstname.lastname@example.org. A refundable $50 deposit is necessary to hold your spot in the group. A check made out to Beacon Travel or cash are welcome as the deposit. Please mail your deposit to: Dr. Greg Clemons, Mars Hill College, 100 Athletic St., Mars Hill, NC 28754.
Pictured:The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, in the community of San Juan Chamula, is one of many breathtaking stops planned for visitors to Chiapas.