The mid-17-century plaza takes its name from the Iglesia del Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje. It was first known as Plaza Nueva taking the name of what is now known as Plaza Vieja. For a while it was known as Plaza de las Lavanderas, literally “Washerwomen Plaza”, given the large number of African washerwomen that met there to attend mass. After the market (that shared the plaza with the church) closed, the plaza benefitted from a group of trees that characterizes the square to this day.
A sleepy little park three blocks south of Obispo on Bernaza, Plaza del Cristo was created in 1640 around the Ermita del Humilladero. The hermitage was the final station on the Vía Crucis (procession of the cross;), which took place every year during Lent. The baroque Iglesia del Santo Cristo del Buen Viaje (Esquina Teniente Rey y Bernaza, 863 1767) now covers the site of the old hermitage on the north-eastern side of the plaza. Of the original building, only the enclosure and painted wood ceiling still remain.