A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico San Cristobal de Las Casas vs. Ensenada for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

San Cristobal de Las Casas

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a cultural, charming, and colorful town. As this is a charming small town, visitors also come to explore the sights and local activities. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Ensenada

Ensenada is a historic, cultural, and outdoorsy city. Other reasons to visit include food, shopping, and museums.

San Cristobal de Las Casas and Ensenada: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for shopping


Is there more to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas than Ensenada. While Ensenada is larger than San Cristobal de Las Casas, San Cristobal de Las Casas has more sights and attractions for tourists. San Cristobal de Las Casas is very popular for its museums, nightlife, historical sights, shopping, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while Ensenada attracts visitors for its beaches. San Cristobal de Las Casas is famous for its historical buildings, local markets, and traditional churches. It is also well known for the Cathedral of San Cristobal de las Casas. Ensenada is famous for its local cuisine, golf, and outdoor sports.

How is San Cristobal de Las Casas different from Ensenada?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Ensenada and San Cristobal de Las Casas. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a great destination for its museums and landmarks. Also, Ensenada is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historical sights.

San Cristobal de Las Casas offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. The town is filled with historical churches such as the main Cathedral of San Cristobal. While this is the most notable church, there are also smaller churches worth visiting like the Templo Santo Domingo, Iglesia de Guadalupe, and Iglesia de San Cristobal. For museums, make sure you check out the Centro de Textiles del Mundo Maya, Na Bolom, and Museo de Ambar.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Ensenada. There are several good museums in town such as the Museo de Historia and Caracol Museo de Ciencias.


Is the Food Better in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

Both San Cristobal de Las Casas and Ensenada offer high quality local cuisine and restaurants.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The cuisine is a mix of Spanish-influenced cured meats such as ham and sausage, as well as indigenous flavors like tamales and burritos. There's also a lot of great pizza around town as well as several Asian restaurants.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Ensenada. The town is known for its seafood, and fish tacos is one of the most popular dishes. You'll find seafood markets and street cards selling fresh and local items. Sample your way through the city and enjoy all of the local specialties.

Is San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada Better for Nightlife?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a great destination for nightlife and partying. Also, Ensenada is still popular, but not quite as popular for its evening party scene.

The people in San Cristobal de Las Casas know how to have a good time. There's an active nightlife scene that includes everything from late night clubs to salsa lessons. Most tourists who want to party head to the pedestrian streets around the plaza. There are countless bars where you'll likely find a crowd late into the night. Some clubs have a cover charge on weekends but, in general, drinks are cheap and getting around is easy.

If you're looking for night time activities Ensenada has a few options to choose from. There are a number of bars and nightclubs around town. Head to Avenida López Mateos for many of the best restaurants and bars.

Is San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada Better for Beaches?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

Ensenada is a decent place to visit for its beaches. However, San Cristobal de Las Casas is not a beach destination.

Ensenada is a good spot to see the beach. It's a working port town and the beaches in the area aren't great. You'll find the best options to the south of the city.

San Cristobal de Las Casas is not a beach destination.


Is San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada Better for its Old Town?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a great destination for its old town. However, Ensenada does not have a historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting San Cristobal de Las Casas. The town is filled with narrow pedestrian streets, colorful markets, and historic churches.

Ensenada does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

San Cristobal de Las Casas is very popular for its shopping opportunities. Also, Ensenada is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

The abundance of shops in San Cristobal de Las Casas make it a world-class shopping destination. The nearby villages are famous for their weaving, leather, pottery, and embroidery, so many visitors pick up souvenirs at the colorful markets around town. This is one of the best towns in Mexico to purchase local items, and you should definitely set aside time to explore and shop.

Ensenada has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. Avenida López Mateos is the main shopping street in town. You'll find many shops, but be prepared to pay more than you might elsewhere because shopkeepers are used to cruise ship riders who are willing to pay a high price tag.

Is San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada Better for Families?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

Kids will enjoy a visit to either San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada.

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a family-friendly town. While kids may not appreciate the town's beauty and culture, they will have fun exploring the night market or taking a chocolate-making class. There are pedestrian streets where everyone can explore without fear of traffic and pizza restaurants that appeal to the kids as well.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Ensenada. You'll find ziplining, horseback riding, and surf lessons in the area. Kids will also enjoy seeing the Water Show or going whale watching.


Is San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada Better for Couples?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a great destination for its romantic activities. Also, Ensenada is still popular, but not quite as popular for couples.

Couples visit San Cristobal de Las Casas frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples who enjoy culture, markets, traditional cuisines, and new experiences will love their time here. It's a fun place to simply wander. You can explore the markets and then eat at a local restaurant before making your way back to your boutique hotel.

Ensenada is a good town for couples to visit. The city has an authentic atmosphere that will let you experience a more genuine side to Mexico.

Is San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a great destination for backpackers. Also, Ensenada is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a great town to visit for backpackers. There are a number of hostels in town as well as budget-friendly hotels. Backpackers love the laid back nature of this town as well as the many markets and nature-oriented activities.

Ensenada is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are a few hostels and a number of cheap hotels around town.

Is San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a popular place for its public transit. However, Ensenada is a city with minimal options for times when you don't have a car.

You'll find some public transit in San Cristobal de Las Casas, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. Urbano buses are minibuses that connect the town to the outlying residential areas. There are also colectivos that travel to nearby villages.

Public transit is mostly limited in Ensenada. Public transit in the area is limited.


Is San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada a more walkable city?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Ensenada

San Cristobal de Las Casas is very popular for its high level of walkability. Also, Ensenada is still popular, but not quite as popular for its ease of walking around.

Getting around San Cristobal de Las Casas on foot is easy. Walking is the best way to experience the town. Most of the sights can be reached on foot and there are pedestrian-only streets that let you avoid the traffic.

Ensenada is a very walkable destination. The downtown area is walkable and easy to explore on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is San Cristobal de Las Casas Worth Visiting? and Is Ensenada Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Ensenada or San Cristobal de Las Casas?

How long in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both San Cristobal de Las Casas and Ensenada. In our opinion, San Cristobal de Las Casas has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in San Cristobal de Las Casas than Ensenada. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in San Cristobal de Las Casas than Ensenada. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in San Cristobal de Las Casas, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in San Cristobal de Las Casas than Ensenada. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in San Cristobal de Las Casas that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in San Cristobal de Las Casas than Ensenada if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in San Cristobal de Las Casas.


  • How many days in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Cristobal de Las Casas 2-3 
    Ensenada 2-3

One day in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a small town where visitors enjoy the food and shopping. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

In Ensenada, many people enjoy the museums and nightlife that this cultural destination offers. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this town makes for a great vacation. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in San Cristobal de Las Casas, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

In Ensenada, many people enjoy the nightlife and food that this destination offers. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything. Many people spend a weekend here. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities.


Five days in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that shopping is why people visit. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Many people enjoy the food and shopping when visiting Ensenada. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. This city offers something for everyone.

A week in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that shopping is why people visit. Visiting the old town is also a must. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This town offers something for everyone.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the city of Ensenada. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Mexico, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Mexico, The Best Budget Tours to Mexico, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Mexico.


Which place is cheaper, Ensenada or San Cristobal de Las Casas?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in San Cristobal de Las Casas is $93, while the average daily cost in Ensenada is $91. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for San Cristobal de Las Casas and Ensenada in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $43
    Ensenada $43
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $86
    Ensenada $86
Compare Hotels in San Cristobal de Las Casas and Ensenada

Looking for a hotel in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in San Cristobal de Las Casas


Hotels in Ensenada


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: San Cristobal de Las Casas Hotel Prices and Ensenada Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $30
    Ensenada $19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in San Cristobal de Las Casas

Also for San Cristobal de Las Casas, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer Hotel in San Cristobal de las Casas to TGZ Airport: $48

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ensenada

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ensenada:

  • Transfer: From Tijuana to Valle de Guadalupe & Ensenada: $388
  • Border and Tijuana Airport Transfers to Ensenada or Valle de Guadalupe: $120

Is it cheaper to fly into San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

Prices for flights to both Ensenada and San Cristobal de Las Casas change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $22
    Ensenada $36

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Ensenada

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Ensenada.

  • Mexican Cooking Class at Hacienda Eco-Domes | Valle de Guadalupe: $47

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $13
    Ensenada $9.95

Tours and Activities in San Cristobal de Las Casas

For San Cristobal de Las Casas, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Tour of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan: $24
  • Rancho Nuevo Caves and Arcotete Ecotourism Center: $27
  • Montebello Lakes and Chiflon Waterfalls Tour: $28
  • Chamula and Zinacantan Indigenous Villages Tour: $28
  • Tour Sumidero Canyon and Magic Town of Chiapa de Corzo: $34
  • Sumidero Canyon Tour: $34
  • Tour to Grutas de Rancho Nuevo and El Arcotete Ecotourism Park: $37
  • Sumidero Canyon and Chiapa de Corzo Combo Tour: $40
  • Tour to the Chiflón Waterfalls and Montebello Lagoons: $43
  • Tour to the Viewpoints, Sumidero Canyon and Chiapa de Corzo: $43
  • Tour to San Juan Chamula & Zinacantan Indian communities: $44
  • Agua Azul, Misol Hà Waterfalls and Palenque Ruins Tour: $45

Tours and Activities in Ensenada

Here are a few actual costs in Ensenada for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • ATV Off Road Tour and Transportation to Las Canadas: $96
  • ATV Off-Road Adventure through Valle de Guadalupe + Winery Visit: $77
  • Adventure Delight The Ultimate Combo Ride at Desert Trails: $132
  • Adventure in Ensenada with Zipline, Marine Geyser and Shops: $99
  • Bike and wine amazing Adventure in Valle de Guadalupe": $130
  • City tour on electric horse wagon.: $55
  • Electric Motorcycle Tour and rental.: $133
  • Ensenada City Tour on Ford T Replica and Beach Horse Back Riding : $90
  • Ensenada Shore Excursion: Blowhole and La Bufadora Tour with Horseback Riding: $81
  • A thrilled family adventure of ziplines: $89
  • ATV Mountain Adventure: $112
  • ATV and Zip Line Adventure Tour: $220

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $28
    Ensenada $10

Sample the Local Flavors in Ensenada

Also in Ensenada, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Xecue Wine Tasting in the Guadalupe Valley: $39
  • Ojos Negros Valley Cheese and Wine Tasting Tour: $44
  • From Wine Tasting at Guadalupe Valley Ensenada: $83
  • Valle de Guadalupe Wine Tasting Tour: $87
  • Sensory Wine Tasting with Chocolate: $92
  • From Ojos Negros Valley Cheese & Wine Tasting Tour: $97
  • Private Wine Tour at Valle de Guadalupe (A wine tasting included).: $113
  • Wine Tasting Tour in Valle de Guadalupe: $115
  • wine tours and driver service through valle de guadalupe, Ensenada B.C. Mexico: $135
  • Valle de Guadalupe COUPLES wine tasting for 2: $180
  • Wine tasting tour for Cruise Ship Visitors. All Inclusive!: $199
  • Private and custom group Wine tour Valle de Guadalupe : $220


When comparing the travel costs between San Cristobal de Las Casas and Ensenada, we can see that San Cristobal de Las Casas is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is San Cristobal de Las Casas Expensive? and Is Ensenada Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, San Cristobal de Las Casas or Ensenada?

Ensenada has a larger population, and is about 99% larger than the population of San Cristobal de Las Casas. When comparing the sizes of San Cristobal de Las Casas and Ensenada, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.