One of the most popular places to visit in San Cristobal de las Casas is Na Bolom, a musuem and research centre focusing mainly on conserving, developing and promoting the culture of local indigenous groups.
What is Na Bolom?
Na Bolom was the home of Swiss anthropologist and photographer Gertrude Duby-Blom and her husband, Danish archaeologist and explorer Frans Blom. The couple devoted their lives to recording and preserving the heritage of the cultures of local indigenous groups, particularly the Lacandon people.
The home was gifted in the couple’s wills as a museum and research centre, and is now a focal point of community and environmental projects. There is also a research library which contains over 5,000 items, including books and maps.
Na Bolom also contains a small hotel which is available for private bookings, as well as a cafe located adjacent to a beautiful garden.
Who was Gertrude Duby-Blom?
Gertrude (“Trudy”) Duby-Blom was initially a journalist who championed women’s rights in the 1930s and was interred by Nazis for criticizing their regime in its early days. She worked for more than fifty years in the Lacandon jungle documenting the life of the indigenous people and the degredation of that jungle region in southeastern Mexico. She took up photography as a complement to her anthropological endeavours and left a stunning archive of 50,000 photos of the last Mayan tribes.
Who was Frans Blom?
Frans Blom was a Danish archaeologist and explorer. He carried out archaeology and ethnography works from a very young age in south-eastern Mexico, mainly among the Lacandon, Tzotzil and Tzetlal ethnic groups.
He discovered several important archaeological sites, including La Venta in Tabasco, and further uncovered and documented additional important ruins at the Mayan city of Comalcalco, also in Chiapas.
Why should I visit Na Bolom?
We loved our visit to Na Bolom. Frans and Trudy were real-life Indiana Jones-style adventurers. The museum showcases some of Trudy’s magnificent photography of the lives of the local indigenous people when they were truly untouched by western civilisation. There are also displays of the detailed survey maps created by Frans and a lot of his old expedition equipment.
Visitors start their tour by watching a short film detailing the life work of the couple which is interesting and informative.
After inspecting the museum, library and textile gallery, visitors can stroll around the beautiful gardens surrounding the premises or take in a coffee at the cafe.
How do I get to Na Bolom?
Na Bolom is located at Guerrero 33, an easy 1 km walk from the Zocalo in San Cristobal. Taxis are plentiful in the central San Cristobal area if you don’t feel like walking.
Where do I get tickets to Na Bolom
Tickets are sold from the cafe across the road from the main entrance.
Ticket Prices for Na Bolom
General $MXN 60
With guided tour $MXN 70
Students, teachers and seniors $MXN 30
Contact details and Opening Hours for Na Bolom
Address: Vicente Guerrero 33, Cerrillo neighborhood, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico
Telephone: (52) 967 678 1418
Hours: Daily from 9.00am to 7.00pm