Sprawling across the steep foothills of the Andes, 500 mi/805 km southwest of Caracas, this state capital is most famous for its 10-day festival of San Sebastian held every January. Visitors from dozens of nations congregate there to watch bullfights, folkloric shows and sports events. If you plan to attend the festival, book accommodations far in advance. As you stroll through the city, note the interesting inset tile "posters" on the walls of the bullring and be sure to check out the various churches.
The little towns around San Cristobal are known for handicrafts (baskets in Palmira, ceramics in Libertad), coffee growing (around Santa Ana) and pretty vintage architecture (especially Peribeca and San Pedro del Rio). <
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