A Travel Price Comparison for Mexico San Cristobal de Las Casas vs. Guadalajara for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Old Town

Should you visit San Cristobal de Las Casas or Guadalajara?

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

Should I visit San Cristobal de Las Casas or Guadalajara? 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 charming, colorful, and cultural town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Guadalajara

Guadalajara is a cultural, historical, and vibrant city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. Other reasons to visit include food, shopping, and museums.

San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good public transit
  • Small town charm
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly


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

You'll generally find more things to do in Guadalajara than San Cristobal de Las Casas. Guadalajara is bigger than San Cristobal de Las Casas, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Guadalajara is better known for its big city activities, while San Cristobal de Las Casas is more popular for its shopping, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. San Cristobal de Las Casas is more touristy than Guadalajara and is known for its historical buildings, local markets, and traditional churches. Guadalajara is well known for its mariachi music, tequila, and many festivals. Also, Guadalajara is famous for the Guadalajara Cathedral.

How is San Cristobal de Las Casas different from Guadalajara?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Guadalajara 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 Guadalajara?

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

Spend time exploring the very good sights and museums in either San Cristobal de Las Casas or Guadalajara.

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.

Many visitors head to Guadalajara specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. It's a city that's filled with culture and history, with many impressive landmarks such as the Guadalajara Cathedral. Also make sure you visit the Instituto Cultural de Cabañas, Expiatory Temple, the Government Palace, and the Regional Museum of Guadalajara.


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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

Both San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara offer very good 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 Guadalajara. The cuisine uses some key ingredients such as corn tortillas, chilis, and beans. You'll find a lot of street food which includes tacos and tortas as well as restaurant dishes like birria (meat stew), pozole (hominy soup), and fish ceviche.

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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

The very good nightlife scene is relatively similar in San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara.

San Cristobal de Las Casas has a large number of nightlife venues. 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.

Guadalajara is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. The city comes to life at night. You'll find vibrant dance clubs, live music, and traditional bars. The craft beer scene has also grown in recent years. The most active areas are around Chapultepec Avenue and Zapopan.

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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

It's fun to wander around the very good old towns in both San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara.

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.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Guadalajara. The city center is filled with Spanish colonial architecture. With a walking tour you will find baroque, neoclassical, renaissance, and Gothic style buildings that highlight the city's long running past and rich history.


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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

San Cristobal de Las Casas is an amazing town to visit for its shopping areas. Also, Guadalajara is not as popular, but is still a nice city for shopping.

Many people travel to San Cristobal de Las Casas specifically to go shopping. 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.

Guadalajara is an extremely popular place for shoppers. One of the best shopping streets is Avenida Juarez. A must-see stop is also the large indoor market of Mercado Libertad. You'll also find shopping centers and retail outlets around town.

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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a nice place to visit for its kid-friendly activities. However, Guadalajara is not a good destination for its family-friendly activities.

San Cristobal de Las Casas offers lots of family activities. 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.

Guadalajara is not the most family-friendly destination. While it's not the most popular destination for families, those who visit will enjoy exploring the nature parks or amusement parks.

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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

San Cristobal de Las Casas is great for couples. Also, Guadalajara is not as popular, but is still a nice city for romance.

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a great town if you're traveling as a couple. 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.

Guadalajara is a nice destination for couples. It's filled with nice architecture, a vibrant nightlife scene, and great urban parks, making it a nice and romantic destination for couples.


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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara are both very good destinations for backpackers.

San Cristobal de Las Casas is very popular with the backpacker crowd. 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.

Guadalajara is a great town to visit for backpackers. There are plenty of hostels and cheap hotels around town.

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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a nice place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Guadalajara does not have public transit.

While San Cristobal de Las Casas offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. Urbano buses are minibuses that connect the town to the outlying residential areas. There are also colectivos that travel to nearby villages.

Guadalajara does not have public transit. There's a bus system as well as a metro system with two lines, which are primarily used by commuters.

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

San Cristobal de Las Casas
Guadalajara

San Cristobal de Las Casas is an amazing town to visit for its ease of walking around. Also, Guadalajara is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its walkability.

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a very easy town to get around on foot. 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.

Guadalajara is very walkable. The city center is pedestrian-friendly. This is also where you'll find most of the sights.


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

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

How long in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Guadalajara?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara. 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 Guadalajara. 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 Guadalajara. 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 Guadalajara. 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 Guadalajara 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 Guadalajara? Ideal Length of Stay
    San Cristobal de Las Casas 2-3 
    Guadalajara 2-3

One day in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Guadalajara?

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a small town with plenty to do. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Most people visit for the shopping. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Guadalajara, many people enjoy the museums and nightlife that this vibrant destination offers. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. 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 Guadalajara?

San Cristobal de Las Casas might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. This town offers something for everyone. Plenty of people spend a weekend in the area when traveling. If you enjoy all that's offered here, then a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.

In Guadalajara, many people enjoy the nightlife and food that this destination offers. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. 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 Guadalajara?

Because San Cristobal de Las Casas is a small town, it's easy to explore in a short amount of time. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. Five days may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel.

Many people enjoy the food and shopping when visiting Guadalajara. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. 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 Guadalajara?

Since San Cristobal de Las Casas is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people visit for the shopping. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.

Travelers enjoy the shopping and museums when visiting the city of Guadalajara. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Mexico City, The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Playa del Carmen, The Best 2-Week Tours from Cancun, and The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Mexico.


Which place is cheaper, Guadalajara 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 $100, while the average daily cost in Guadalajara is $117. 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 Guadalajara in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $46
    Guadalajara $42
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $92
    Guadalajara $84
Compare Hotels in San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara

Looking for a hotel in San Cristobal de Las Casas or Guadalajara? 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 Guadalajara


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 Guadalajara Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $32
    Guadalajara $39

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: $52

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Guadalajara

Also for Guadalajara, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Transfer by car to or from Guadalajara Airport: $29
  • Tequila to Guadalajara - Private Transfer with English-speaking driver: $165
  • Private transfer from Guadalajara to Sayulita: $242
  • Airport to City Transfer: $155
  • Guadalajara to Tequila - Private Transfer with English-speaking driver: $165
  • Guadalajara hotels to Guadalajara Airport (GDL) - Departure Private Transfer: $50
  • Guadalajara Airport (GDL): Transfer to Guadalajara hotels: $177
  • Airport-Chapala/Ajijic Transfer: $229
  • Airport Transfer to Guadalajara Hotels: $149

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

Prices for flights to both Guadalajara 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 $23
    Guadalajara $48

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Guadalajara

For Guadalajara, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Mexican Cooking Classes and Market Visit in Guadalajara: $61
  • Guadalajara private food tour: $68
  • Mexican Traditional Cooking Class: $86

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $14
    Guadalajara $28

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:

  • Adventure on Motorcycle to a Hidden Waterfall! : $123
  • Agua Azul, Misol Hà Waterfalls and Palenque Ruins Tour: $49
  • Bike Tour Chiapas Indigenous Peoples: $62
  • Canyoning El Chorreadero Cave- Adventure Chiapas: $101
  • Chamula and Zinacantan Indigenous Villages Tour: $31
  • From San Cristóbal Tour to Agua Azul, Misol Ha and Palenque with Guide 1 day: $65
  • Full Day Tour in Lagos de Montebello and El Chiflón: $82
  • Full Day Tour of Montebello Lakes and El Chiflon Waterfall: $45
  • Full Day Tour to Palenque Archaeological Zone with Waterfalls: $113
  • Full-Day Sumidero Canyon Tour with Boat Cruise from San Cristóbal de las Casas: $84
  • Montebello Lakes and Chiflon Waterfalls Tour: $28
  • Montebello Lakes and Waterfalls Tour from San Cristobal: $52

Tours and Activities in Guadalajara

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Guadalajara.

  • Romantic tour in Zapopan: $186
  • 6 Hours Private Tour Guide in Guadalajara, you choose!: $144
  • Adventure tour Between Charros, Mariachi and Parián de Tlaquepaque: $154
  • Canopy Experience Panoramic Flight in Zip Lines: $44
  • Cantaritos and Tequila Factory Tour: $89
  • Chapala Ajijic Area Tour from Guadalajara: $40
  • Chapala Lake and Ajijic Tour from Guadalajara: $77
  • Charreria heritage tour be a charro for a day: $50
  • City tour in Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque: $94
  • Complete Tour on the Tequila Route from Guadalajara: $60
  • Downtown Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque Tour: $73
  • Downtown Mexico City: Self guided tacos and market tour: $23

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    San Cristobal de Las Casas $30
    Guadalajara $18

Sample the Local Flavors in Guadalajara

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Guadalajara:

  • Guadalajara Arquitecture and Brewery Tour: $58
  • Tequila distillery experience, Jose Cuervo & Tequila Magic Town: $77
  • Private One Day Adventure Tour in Tequila and La Fortaleza Distillery: $178
  • Sip & Savor Tequila Experience Distillery w/ Lunch fr Guadalajara: $180
  • Private Tour La Fortaleza Distillery and visit to Tequila: $190
  • Private Tour to Distillery Tequila Ocho and Arandas : $200
  • Private Tour one day in Guachimontones and La Fortaleza Distillery: $215
  • Private Adventure to Casa Sauza Distillery and Visit to Tequila: $215
  • Guachimontones and Tequila Distillery in One Day: $264


When comparing the travel costs between San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara, we can see that Guadalajara 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 Guadalajara Expensive?.


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

Guadalajara has a larger population, and is about 10 times larger than the population of San Cristobal de Las Casas. When comparing the sizes of San Cristobal de Las Casas and Guadalajara, 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.