"Market Day in the Highlands" Top 5 Page for this destination Chichicastenango by Hopkid

Chichicastenango Travel Guide: 90 reviews and 213 photos

Touristy? So what!

All the guidebooks will tell you that the market (Thursdays and Sundays) in Chichi is possibly the largest indigenous market in Latin America. The tour operators in Antigua, Pana, and throughout central Guatemala will tell you that this is a must-do activity. I would have to wholeheartedly agree. Sure, because of the hype you run the risk of seeing a lot of other tourists. In our experience you can still get the full flavor of the traditional aspects of the market and see plenty of locals wearing their traditional traje in all their bright colors and beautiful patterns. Better yet would be to drive there yourself or take a chicken bus so you're not on the same schedule as all of the tour buses that descend on Chichi. The market *IS* very large so it can seem as though that perhaps there aren't as may tourists as there might actually be. Our visit on a Sunday in June was that way.

Besides having the everyday items necessary for daily life like other town/village market days feature, Chichi is also known for its large selection of traditional crafts. Here you can fined carved wooden masks, figurines, and bowls, handwoven blankets, tablecloths, and pillow cases, jewelery, purses, etc. not to mention authentic traje such as cortes (skirts) and huipils (blouses). Quality varies so be sure to make your own judgement if a particular item meets your standards and make sure to bargain hard for the item. It is expected and once a price is agreed to don't worry that the vendor is getting cheated. Their business people and aren't going to settle for not making money on a deal.

Other than the traditional crafts, the other fascinating part of the market are the areas for the locals, such as the meat section, the flower mart around the steps of large Iglesia de Santo Tomas, the grains, produce, and prepared foods. This is where you'll find the locals shopping and after wandering through some of these lanes you may find yourself as the only foreigner in sight.

Some say it's too touristy and it may be more so than it used to be. But we found it to be a great experience and it would prove to be the same to anyone with a penchant for shopping for local crafts and with an interest in local culture.

And if you're a photographer, forget about it. You've got to go to Chichi!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great experience among the locals
  • Cons:Too many tourists?
  • In a nutshell:Must do on any trip to Guatemala!
  • Last visit to Chichicastenango: Jun 2007
  • Intro Updated Jul 27, 2007
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Comments (1)

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Aug 1, 2007 at 7:32 PM

    I'm your very first visitor! Looks like my kind of place, a huge market, good food, what's not to like?


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