"The Incredible ChiChi" Top 5 Page for this destination Chichicastenango by acemj

Chichicastenango Travel Guide: 90 reviews and 215 photos

Thursdays and Sundays in Chichicastenango (also referred to as "ChiChi") are market days and if this were your only reason for visiting this highland town, it would be good enough. The colors, smells and frenetic atmosphere of the market at the height of the day after all of the day tripping tourists have arrived, make it an exciting destination. But, if your only purpose is to get a bargain, you might do just as well (or perhaps better) by spending your money in the less crowded markets in some of the smaller towns surrounding Lake Atitlan. Fewer buyers mean better prices and the selection is comparable if you are just looking for souvenirs. However, there's no doubt that this is the king of the markets and the size and selection are great.

There is much more to ChiChi than just its market. If you can, arrive here the day before the market begins, you'll be rewarded with an experience of a town that is deeply entrenched in its traditional Mayan ways. White-washed buildings, cobblestone streets and a colorful cemetery are all good reasons to travel to charming ChiChi.

I enjoyed seeing Mayan men a foot shorter than me, lifting loads that I wouldn't even consider attempting to lift, working hard in preparation for the market. While the locals are very traditional, they are also friendly and seem to recognize the importance of tourists to their economic survival.

Chichicastengo is located in the Western Highlands of Guatemala about 45 minutes to an hour from Lake Atitlan at an altitude of around 2000 meters (6000 feet). Here is a town map. It's not a big place, so a quick glance at this map will give you all the orientation you'll need to get your bearings.

  • Last visit to Chichicastenango: Feb 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (17)

Comments (10)

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2009 at 1:28 AM

    Looks like they like plenty of bright colour here! Would love to go to those markets and have a look, bet there was plenty of interest to buy!

  • PALLINA's Profile Photo
    May 13, 2008 at 12:35 AM

    Amazing photos of Chichi. Well done!

  • ellielou's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2008 at 6:51 AM

    great page.....mmmmmm, morning coffee!

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Feb 18, 2008 at 5:17 PM

    That answers my coffee question. Avena sounds great and love the colorful shot in the intro.

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2007 at 12:12 PM

    Looks like a fascinating place to visit. Will have to do some rsearch and perhaps add it to my list of places to go.

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2006 at 6:47 PM

    Hi, Mark. Chichi looks like a colorful place--especially the shopping areas! You did a great job on this page. How are things in Philly??

  • Redlats's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2006 at 2:50 PM

    Interesting place and tips. We got as far as Chetumal on this year's vacation. Perhaps next year we will make it to Belize and Guatemala.

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Mar 17, 2006 at 10:18 PM

    I wish I hadn't missed Chichicastenango when I was in Guatemala many years ago. It looks like a fabulous place! Great tips!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2006 at 2:03 PM

    Fantastic page. What colofgul cemetery they have! Entrance reserved for locals? Wow, I definetely don't look Mexican... This vegetable/fruit market look as a good option, indeed.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2006 at 3:35 PM

    Incredible page Mark! You really pegged the local flavour with this one, especially the info on Iglesia de Santo Tomas! Your budget digs look quite comfortable & nice Scarlet Macaw at that high-end hotel too. Very helpful tips here and an enjoyable read!


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