Outdoor,photography,coffee, nature, food and culture lover; seeker of life's simple pleasures.
Published May 23rd 2015
Hotel quality with hostel prices
San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas is one of the most magical towns in Mexico. Anyone here holds a chance to become a somebody; a yoga expert, an artist, a musician or a spiritual healer. And the balance between Mexican and foreign cultures is almost precise with indigenous women with thick braids and babies with chestnut eyes hanging off their backs; French hippies sipping on green tea; German backpackers repacking their treasures; and Canadian entrepreneurs lively discussing their new business ventures. They all harmoniously play their roles in this rich colourful landscape, dotted along the cobble stone streets, slowly moving between loud cars and food vendors, trying on woollen clothing and leather huaraches - there is nothing not to like about this town!
But this experience can easily be ruined if you and your partner find yourselves looking for accommodation after a 12 hour bus ride from Oaxaca city, carrying 12 kg bags at 7 am on 5'C and not having a mobile phone or anyone you know who can recommend a place. So of course out of desperation, you end up paying for a night or two in a musty room with no window, an angry dog who barks at you when you go to the toilet, a hole in the mattress, no water and a 2 hour wait on your so promised early breakfast. You eventually pack your bags and head to the nearest internet cafe to ferociously look for a different hostel. Based on great reviews and high scores you end up in a cheap but stoner infested hostel that offers nothing but an anorexic mattress bed and a shelf, realising those scores were probably given under the influence of magic mushrooms. By this stage you are desperate, so once again you pack your bags and venture into the streets in hopes that you will find a reasonably priced dormitory and a quick hot shower. After 2 hours of exploring the streets and looking at a few other disappointing places your faith starts to fade and you think perhaps you are just asking for way to much!
Suddenly you turn into Tapachula street to find what might be just another dud - "Posada El Abuelito". By this stage you have lost a bit of money, some well needed sleep and a loaf of bread to a stranger's munchies, so of course you have nothing to lose, but as you go in your whole panorama changes.
An entrance lined with thick concrete stones, dotted with bugambilia flowers, hummingbirds twirling around bright orange lilies, bright pink and blue painted walls and thatched terracotta roofs over sturdy hammocks and airy patios. A friendly lady greets you and offers information on prices and availability. This has to be a dream and the one thing that will wake you up is the price you need to pay to stay in this hostel utopia. However, after they tell you the night is only $120 pesos per night and they have an offer during low season which gives you the third night free, you shake your head, if it sounds too good to be true. I am glad to say this doesn't apply one bit to "Posada ElAbuelito". Needless to say - we ended up paying in advance and trusting our eyes.
The next 10 days were nothing but the most pleasant hostel experience I have had. This posada offers private rooms with bathrooms or private rooms with shared bathroom, mixed dormitory with 10 beds and lockers and a ladies only dormitory with 4 beds and its own bathroom. Linen gets changed daily and just like a hotel, they make your bed or bunk bed every day and provide soap to all guests regularly.
Close to everything, makes it easy to explore the town.
The hostel has 3 showers and 2 toilets in a large main area, a private full bathroom and an independent toilet - these two in case you need a little more privacy while staying in a mixed dormitory.
The main garden is filled with colourful flowers, a large hammock and a small undercover patio where you can sit back and sip on a beer or share a meal.
Through the back there is another small garden with a decorative well, a tiny book exchange library and of course, a rustic living room with a fireplace which you are free to use given a coin donation for the logs. They also have a public use computer with internet, so you can arrange further travels and keep in touch with family and friends.
For early risers and of course everybody else, "Posada El Abuelito" offers a full breakfast everyday from 7am to 10 am. There's homemade guava and raspberry jam, creamy butter, local eggs, morning baked bread, sweet fruit, milk and of course fresh made coffee from the region and a variety of tea. All this is set up in their warm and homely communal kitchen and dining area, giving you a great opportunity to meet others guests and share travelling tips, stories and for those travelling solo and even find a group of friends who might want to hang out later in the evening at one of the many nearby wine bars or cafes.
I highly recommend this place to anyone: older and younger couples, solo travellers and families, as during our stay there we met a huge variety of people and they were all pleased with their stay there.
As much as bad experiences are also part of the adventure and you can laugh at them a few months after; as much as these strengthen your spirit and make you a less demanding human being. I wanted to share this tucked away treasure with those looking for honestly great accommodation at truly cheap prices, because let's face it, it's never nice paying money to wake up terrified in the middle of the night because your foot's unexpectedly slipped into a deep hole in the mattress. Let's just say I would rather pay the same to be awaken by hummingbirds outside and homemade guava jam!
For more information and bookings please visit posadadelabuelito.com