San Cristóbal de las Casas has a well established colonial centre with wonderful examples of 16th century architecture which your guide will help you to explore on foot.
You begin at the Plaza 31 de Marzo (the main plaza) at the centre of the colonial city. On the north side of the plaza is San Cristóbal's Cathedral, noted for its elaborate gold leaf interior and altar, and distinctly indigenous flavour. To the west is the Palacio Municipal, a 19th century neoclassical building with interior courtyard. To the south is the square's oldest structure, the Casa de Diego Mazariegos (now the Santa Clara Hotel). This is one of Mexico's finest examples of 16th century Plateresque styling.
Heading south is the Templo del Carmen church which dates back to 1597, and was formerly part of a nunnery. This mustard coloured church has an archway crossing the road and was once the gateway to the city, next door is the Instituto de Bellas Artes (Institute of Fine Arts), which hosts art exhibitions and other art fairs.
You also visit San Cristóbal's most beautiful church, the Templo y Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo which was completed around 1560 and is situated north of the main plaza on Avenida 20 de Noviembre. Its baroque façade is of soft pink-coloured stone, while the interior is exuberantly decorated with gilt retablos. The attached Dominican monastery houses a good museum that deals mostly with the history of San Cristóbal (signs in Spanish only) and an excellent shop (Sna Jolobil) with the region's best display of hand-woven textiles.
If you are interested in buying arts, crafts and textiles created locally, including replicas of the local dress worn by surrounding villagers, then you will be taken to visit the Tienda de los Artesanos de Chiapas (Chiapas' Artisans Shop). Alternatively you may wish to browse through the colourful eight-block-long mercado. It is best visited in the morning or on Saturdays. The tour will take between two to three hours.