Finding out how to get from the Tuxtla airport to San Cristobal de Las Casas was the first thing on my agenda when moving to the lovely and wild state of Chiapas, Mexico.
Turns out, our journey would be fairly easy and that’s partially thanks to a lovely Chiapaneca woman and her mini Chihuahua named Chile (which I called “chile relleno” because she was a chunk) with whom we shared our taxi.
Our first introduction to Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the bustling and humid capital of Chiapas, was when we decided to live in San Cristóbal de Las Casas as digital nomads for a few months. In fact, it was our first time living or traveling in Chiapas in general. The city, as we soon discovered, is much hotter and crowded than our soon-to-be home in the cool and slow-paced Chiapas Highlands (Los Altos de Chiapas).
There are a handful of ways to get to San Cristobal from Tuxtla, but the easiest we found was by sharing a taxi. There are also public buses, private shuttles, and of course, the option to rent a car straight from the airport.
In this guide, I’ll share exactly how to get to San Cristobal de las Casas from the Tuxtla Gutíerrez airport and what you should consider before hitting the road.
Getting From Tuxtla Airport to San Cristobal de las Casas
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Where Is Tuxtla and San Cristobal?
The capital city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez is located in the central-western part of Chiapas state.
Its airport, officially known as Ángel Albino Corzo International Airport, but more commonly and simply referred to as Tuxtla Gutiérrez International Airport (TGZ), is located about 30 minutes and 30 km south of the city center via Hwy 190.
San Cristobal de las Casas, the ever so charming pueblo mágico (“magic town”) of the Chiapas Highlands, is located approximately 1 hour 20 minutes and 77 km east of Tuxtla Airport via Hwys 190 and 190D.
Seeing as the colonial town sits at 2,200 m (7,700 ft) in elevation, a stark 1,700 m more than Tuxtla, you can expect quite the temperature difference.
Note: When you first arrive, you may experience difficulty in breathing or at least the feeling that you become out of breath more quickly. Altitude sickness symptoms can occur at and above altitudes exceeding 8,000 ft high, so San Cris isn’t that far off!
Getting to San Cristobal From Tuxtla Airport By Taxi
Whether to get to/from the airport, or to simply visit on weekends, we’ve experienced traveling between Tuxtla and San Cristobal by taxi, car, and colectivo (shared van).
But the best and most convenient way we’ve found to get from the Tuxtla Airport to San Cristobal is either by taxi or rental car.
Taxis from the airport to San Cristobal will cost $800 MXN pesos total, which means you can split the cost if you share the taxi with a friend or even a stranger who just got off the same plane as you. That’s what happened to us, at least, with this young woman and her dog Chile.
Organizing a taxi to San Cristobal is fairly easy. Once you collect your luggage from the baggage claim and pass through the security and health check, you will exit out white and glass-paned doors. Head to your right where you will see a few desks. There you just need to ask for a taxi to San Cris, indicate who all is in your party, and pay the fee upfront.
You will take your ticket and hand it to your driver waiting right outside. That’s it!
Seeing as we arrived at the airport at night, around 9 PM, we were glad to have found someone to share the taxi with, split the cost, and make a new friend in the process.
If you are a solo female traveler going alone to San Cris, I would highly recommend just asking fellow women to share the taxi with. We are not used to doing this but it seems this is common practice among locals. You will also undoubtedly see a handful of foreigners get off your plane as well and they’re all likely heading to the same place you are.
By taking a taxi, you save yourself lots of time for waiting on a bus or having to go pick up your rental car. The cost difference is worth it, in my opinion, especially for an hour and a half drive.
Renting a Car in Tuxtla
If you are traveling with a group or aren’t arriving at night, then I would recommend renting a car at Tuxtla Airport to have during your stay in San Cristobal. We use DiscoverCars.com for the best rates for rentals in Mexico ($10-15 USD per day).
If you plan on going on a Chiapas road trip then you will definitely have the best rates by renting at the airport instead of in San Cristobal. You also can’t rent automatic cars, for some reason, in San Cris so keep that in mind if you don’t know how to drive stickshift.
From the airport, the road to San Cris is fairly easy. Pop the address of your hotel in San Cristobal and prepare for a quick and windy trip up the mountain.
Note that if you drive yourself, you will need to pay the $25 MXN pesos Tuxtla toll fee. If you take a bus or taxi, this fee is included in the price.
Taking an OCC Bus or Colectivo
If you are a budget traveler, you might prefer to take an OCC bus from the ADO bus terminal at the airport instead.
The OCC buses serving direct routes from Tuxtla Airport to San Cris run four times a day. In the case that your flight arrives too late for the last service (which seems to be around 21:00 or 9 PM), you can always rely on taxis. But if you arrive before one of the below departure times, and want to save a bit on the taxi fare, then you can go by bus.
Taking a bus from TGZ airport to San Cristobal will cost around $250 MXN pesos. You can book online in advance via the ADO website, but make sure to put “Aeropuerto Ángel Albino…” in the search box instead of Tuxtla Airport, or it won’t register it.
If you prefer to take a colectivo, then you should do so during the day and will need to first head into the city of Tuxtla or into the magic town of Chiapa de Corzo. There is a lot to see and do around here, including taking a river cruise in the Sumidero Canyon National Park, so you might consider staying overnight before moving on.
You can also go from Tuxtla’s city center (Plaza Las Américas) to San Cristobal by OCC bus for as little as $3 USD when you book online through Busbud.
From there, you can hop on colectivos and buses to get to San Cristobal for as little as $60 MXN pesos.
No matter which option you choose to get to San Cristobal, know that on the route up your ears will likely pop since you are going up in elevation by about 5,5570 ft.
Getting Around San Cristobal
Once you arrive safely in San Cristobal de Las Casas, you won’t have much need for a car to actually get around the downtown. In fact, I’d recommend walking everywhere.
One of the best things to do in San Cristobal de Las Casas is actually taking a free walking tour around the city to familiarize yourself with its culture, history, and indigenous groups.
You will only need a car if you plan to go road tripping on your own. Otherwise, you can easily organize day trips from San Cristobal to popular places to visit such as the Cascadas El Chiflón, Lagos de Montebello, Palenque Ruins, etc.
There are also three ecotourism parks around San Cristobal (i.e. Arcotete) and two indigenous Tzotzil Maya towns – San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo Zinacantán – located 15 minutes outside of the city center worth checking out. You can get to those by shared colectivos or by taxi, though, in case you don’t have a rental car or don’t want to pay extra money for an organized tour.
I hope this guide about getting to San Cristobal de las Casas from Tuxtla Airport helps plan your trip! The road is a bit windy and drivers go fast, but taxis are very safe and you should have no problem going from point A to point B, even if you arrive at night.
If you have any questions about either town, feel free to get in touch and drop a comment below!
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