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Teen Traveler to San Cristobal...or not?

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219 posts
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Teen Traveler to San Cristobal...or not?

I appreciate any opinions on whether it is safe to send a teenager to San Cristobal for language study and cultural immersion. We are looking into 3 weeks in the summer, however, there are so many wonderful towns in Mexico, that if this area is not safe, we can certainly go elsewhere. Any recommendations for quaint, authentic cultural experience? Thanks!!

Lewiston, California
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1. Re: Teen Traveler to San Cristobal...or not?

Teen? Covers a wide span 13? 16? 19? Is he/she mature & sensible. Would you send him/her say to San Fransisco to study for 3 weeks? Lots of questions.

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2. Re: Teen Traveler to San Cristobal...or not?

yes, he is mature and responsible and traveled to Peru last summer. I am not concerned about his behavior, but more so keeping him out of the way of violence, robberies, etc.

Bayside, New York
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3. Re: Teen Traveler to San Cristobal...or not?

I think San Cristobal is safe. The cultural education is unique and fascinating, and there is a lively intellectual scene (left wing pro-indigenous politics). The tours of Mayan villages are extremely interesting (guides collect tour groups at the Cathedral plaza). If he likes biking, he will have to check out Los Pinguinos (flyers in various restaurants around town), they lead mountain biking trips around the countryside and you can also rent a bike from them. It's a beautiful area. If he is staying with a family, they will probably be able to go on excursions with him to Mayan ruins sites elsewhere in Chiapas, or to natural attractions (waterfalls and canyons).

London
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4. Re: Teen Traveler to San Cristobal...or not?

We were in San Cristobal in April 2007 with four teenagers (19, 17, 17,14) in tow...theoretically... and felt relaxed enough about the place to let them right off the hook and go around town under their own steam, day and night. Compared with some really "edgy" (or "cool" viewed from their perspective) Spanish-speaking cities we've been to as a family (Buenos Aires, Havana, Sevilla), the centre of San Cristobal feels very tame. Admittedly our four chicos were (1) all boys and (2) already reasonably competent in Spanish, but they soon got the hang of the place -- the colonial street-grid helps -- which seems to have a large admixture of foreign language students. We also noticed several groups of obviously non-Mexican teenage girls out on the town (with nobody hassling them) and several lone women going to and from language classes by taxi, local bus and on foot during the day, which must be a good sign. There's certainly much less risk of trouble in beautiful, colonial San Cristobal than in the seedy late-night streets of Madrid's Puerta del Sol (where our eldest happily did a solo intensive language course in 2006)...or London's Camden Lock, come to that.

5. Re: Teen Traveler to San Cristobal...or not?

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