Hiking up to El Mirador (viewpoint) and rock climbing at Cerro Don Lauro is an awesome way to escape the city streets of San Cristobal de Las Casas and get out in nature. The mountain of Don Lauro is but a few minute’s drive outside the historic center, making for the perfect mini-adventure.
While you can also go hiking and climbing at Arcotete Ecotourism Park, the views from atop El Mirador de Don Lauro are simply stunning – and it’s free! At the top of a short but intense hike, you are rewarded with an entire panoramic view of the valley and surrounding forested hills, with the charming city of San Cristobal at its center.
If you are seeking out adventurous things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas, then hiking and rock climbing at Cerro Don Lauro is a must!
Here is everything you need to know to reach the viewpoint atop Don Lauro Mountain!
Ultimate Guide to Cerro Don Lauro in San Cristóbal de Las Casas
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How to Get to Don Lauro from San Cristóbal
The trailhead for Cerro Don Lauro is but a 10-15 minute drive from the historic center of San Cristobal.
To get there, head south of the city. The trailhead for Cerro Don Lauro isn’t well-marked, but you can find it on Calle Insurgentes as you begin to ascend the mountain. There is a small pull-off on the left side of the road where you can park or leave your car (if you have one).
If you are walking, it would take around 1 hour to get to the trailhead. By taxi, it will only take 10-15 minutes and should only cost $50-80 pesos maximum.
Hiking to El Mirador Don Lauro (Viewpoint)
Once you find the trailhead, the path will start its ascent immediately. There are a few areas where the path flattens out. But for most of the way, you will be going uphill for about 30-45 minutes until you reach the top.
Soon after the hiking trail begins, you’ll start to see signs that you’re on the right path. Follow the red arrows. Many of the signs are motivational quotes and signs pointing to El Mirador or to follow the “Ruta del Aguila.” You will go on a series of small switchbacks and pass a few fields of orchids and small community farms.
The hike itself up to El Mirador is really pretty and it’s not too difficult.
Near the top, you’ll see a cleared out area on the right with a big drum, circle for temazcals, and an altar with flags and a rock with a picture of the Virgin Mary. It’s here where ceremonies and workshops take place in honor of the mountain and the Chiapaneco spiritual shaman who inspired its name – Don Lauro de la Cruz.
You will know you are very close to El Mirador because there will be a flight of natural steps parting off up the mountain – follow those up to the top. Once there, you will have a clearing on the right and on the left. Skirt left to arrive at “the” viewpoint overlooking San Cristobal. There is also an Instagram-worthy swing and lots of neat aguila plants growing out of the rocks.
Rock Climbing at Don Lauro
Don Lauro is an awesome spot to go rock climbing in Chiapas and around San Cristobal.
Other friends of ours have also gone climbing at Don Lauro but with Vertigo Rock Climbing and highly recommend it as well.
If you want to go rock climbing on your own, with your own gear (like we did with our friends), then you’ll need to watch out for the mini trail that splits from the main hiking trail.
It is located about 15-20 minutes up past the trailhead at a bend in the road where it splits off left (to El Mirador) and to the right (to wherever). Right there at the fork is where the mini trail begins up the mountain.
You will need to hop up on the little hill and follow the path. It’s not very visible, but basically, you need to follow the path straight up to the rockface where you will find several fixed climbing routes.
About Don Lauro de La Cruz and The Mountain
Don Lauro de la Cruz is known as a Mayan medicine man and healer. He is originally from Chiapas, Mexico but has “drawn upon different traditions and spiritual forms existing around the world.”
His healings and knowledge of medicine have made him somewhat of an idol. Twice a year, at the El Mirador Ecological Reserve in San Cristobal, (also called “the Mountain”), he hosts workshops and leads hundreds of people in “undertaking a journey of self-knowledge or physical, mental, emotional or spiritual healing.”
They even made a documentary film about him called Hombre de la Montaña and it won several awards in 2018. Check it out if you’re interested!
Other Places to Hike in San Cristobal
El Arcotete Arch
For hiking and general nature escapes other than Cerro Don Lauro, you should also check out the Parque Ecoturistico del Arcotete. Arcotete is a sweet little eco-reserve with ziplining, hiking, rock climbing, and caves that you can explore. Its main attraction, however, is the natural stone arch with a river running through it.
Another mountain to visit near San Cris is the Huitapec Ecological Reserve that features very rare vegetation and a unique cloud forest. You can’t miss it as it is on the road nearby the indigenous villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantán.
I hope this mini hiking guide to Cerro Don Lauro inspires you to get out and see the pine and oak tree-covered mountain tops surrounding San Cristobal de Las Casas! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out or drop them in the comments below.
Don’t forget to check out my other guides to San Cris and Chiapas:
- 20 Things to Do in San Cristóbal de Las Casas
- Inside Casa Na Bolom: The House Museum of Lacandon Culture
- 10 Amazing Hotels in San Cristóbal de Las Casas
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