ADD TO LISTChichicastenango attracts only a small number of travelers, who mostly stop for a visit to see the Market Place. Otherwise those traveling through the area generally visit the more popular destinations such as Antigua Guatemala and Guatemala. If you do travel to Chichicastenango, please take some time to tell us about what you saw in this Chichicastenango travel guide.
Travel Tips from people who've been to Chichicastenango
Market days are Thursdays and Sundays. If you are pressed for time a good way to visit the markets is via a tourist mini bus from Panajachel or Antigua. They cost between $10 and $15, pick you up, drop you for a couple hours at the markets, (you can leave your bags on the bus) and then drop you at the next city. Really worked well for us as that time, we only had a week in Guatemala and being able to leave our bags was huge because otherwise we would have had to have lugged them around the markets.
Chicicastenango is famos for it's market, which is indeed worth the trip to the remoted mountain village. There's still not many tourists around, it's quite an adventure to go there with the local bus and it can get quite difficult to find food. I have to admit that it was in the year 2000 when I've seen this place, so maybe you can find a restaurent there now. The market is huge and you can find anything here, from beautiful handcrafts to fabrics, to tribal clothes and instruments. There's also a food area (well.... for people who've got a strong stomach..) and a section where you can buy chicken, pigs and who knows what else there is still alive. Worth visiting is especially the church. Christian missionaries tried to bring their religion to the tribal people who are living here. When you enter the church you will see and feel that it is still the Gods of nature they're worshipping here. The statues of christian saints have been decorated with clothes, feathers and ornatments. Local people are kneeling and praying in front of them and there's always a fire for sacrifice buring in front of the church entrance. It's an amazing place to visit!
Sundays are the best for the market. It is a massive, colorful extravaganza around the cathedral in the center of town. The variety of woven goods, pottery and embroidered goods is wonderous. Mayan women bring masses of flowers and take up positions on the steep stairs leading up to a cathedral. It makes for a perfect "Kodak" moment BUT you must use a telephoto lens: if they notice you taking photos, they hide their faces and that really ruins the moment. For lunch or dinner there is very nice hotel directly behind the cathedral. It has a large courtyard garden and the food is good.
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