San Cristóbal, Mexico

Population: 185,917

Area: 186.9 sq mi

Presidencia Municipal: Jerónima Toledo Villalobos

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, in 1994 became the second city to sign the Sister City declaration with Asheville. 
An amazing group of women from Asheville traveled to San Cristobal (sahn-crees-toe-bul) in the mid 1990s and returned to Asheville wishing to unite our two cities in a Sister City relationship. Jenifer Morgan and Jane Goldthwait were with this group of concerned local citizens who were convinced our towns had much in common besides the beauty of the mountains and cultural diversity of our residents. In 1996, an official delegation traveled to San Cristobal to make official connections and sign an agreement to become Sister Cities. Vice Mayor Barbara Field traveled with the group. A tour of the city, Maya villages and the ruins of Palenque introduced us to the area. Want to get involved with the San Cristóbal committee? We meet the 2nd Thursday of each month and all are welcome! For more information on this Sister City or if you would like to get involved, please email

  • Well known for its beautiful colonial era architecture
  • In 1994, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation used San Cristóbal as one of the four cities where it began its revolution.

Projects have included

  • Funding of a vehicle to help midwives reach pregnant women in very remote mountainous areas.
  • Funding of a facility that housed single pregnant young Maya women, where they were trained in cooking, baking, pottery, sewing and skills to become independent, as they were banned from their villages. Also on this delegation trip, school supplies and toothbrushes were delivered to an orphanage just outside of San Cristobal – Rancho Caanan.
  • School supplies, medical supplies, children’s art shows, weaving classes and many other cultural activities have occurred since.
  • Weavers have come to Asheville to share their work with the Folk Art Center, elementary schools, and colleges in our area.
  • Palenque Rojo, a Maya performance group, (see photo)Produced and Directed by Hiram Marina, came to Asheville in 2012 to celebrate the ending of the Maya calendar year. Performances were held at Diana Wortham Theatre, Western Carolina Univ., Warren Wilson and Mars Hill. Actors visited elementary schools and walked the streets of Asheville. All performances were sold out!! While at Western Carolina, a Cherokee cultural language class invited the Maya to come for a workshop. As words, medicines, foods etc were shared, the Maya would say – “we know that song” or “yes, we have that word”. Many fond embraces reunited these two cultures.
  • Tzakbu, a return of the Maya Performance Group, arrived in 2015 to filled venues to once again share Maya history with Asheville and our schools and citizens. A visit to Cherokee made this trip very special, as Tom Belk, a Cherokee elder, took us to Kituwah, a spiritual earthwork mound dating back to 1000 C.E. a special ceremony took place between the Maya and the Cherokee.
  • A water project with ASCI, Asheville Breakfast Rotary Club and developed by Club Rotario de San Cristobal, a new system was installed to provide year-round clean water to 50,000 citizens of San Cristobal. A new environmental water project grant will be developed by July 2021.
  • Wheelchairs – Phase I. 60 Wheelchairs were delivered and distributed in San Cristobal in Jan of 2017 with Avl Breakfast Rotary team members. Our delegates personally helped fit chairs to each person receiving a chair. We visited hospitals, clinics, special ed schools and private homes. It was a very emotional experience.
  • Wheelchairs – Phase 2 – currently underway to accept a $20,000 matching grant for 280 chairs for Valladolid and San Cristobal – due to be delivered mid year 2021.