"An encounter with an ancient idol" Top 5 Page for this destination Santiago Atitlán by toonsarah
Santiago Atitlán Travel Guide: 37 reviews and 127 photos
As soon as you dock in Santiago you’ll be met by local children offering to take you to see Maximón. It’s a good idea to accept their offer as he doesn’t have a permanent home but is hosted by a local family, moving house every few years. Of course they will expect a tip, but if you negotiate it won’t cost you too much and will mean a lot to them – and it also gives you a chance to chat to them as you walk through the town.
Our young guide, David, was trilingual and spoke a few words of his Maya language, Tz'utujil, for us. He was keen to take us on a complete tour of the town’s sights but we prefer to explore on our own so declined his offer and gave him the 15 Q we had agreed on for him and his friend.
After you have spent some time with Maximón, made the expected offering of a cigarette or some money (you’ll be asked to pay extra if you want to take photos – which of course you will), you can head for the main street to explore the craft shops. As you climb up its gentle slope you’ll come to a turning which leads through the market area to the Parque Central and church.
All of these deserve something of your time – the market for its local colour, the Parque Central for connections with the 1990 uprising / massacre, and the church for its fascinating blend of Mayan tradition with Catholicism.
- In a nutshell:Visiting Maximón is a unique experience but there's much more to do here besides
The main street here is lined with shops selling all sorts of hand-crafted items – textiles galore, wood carvings,... more travel advice
A visit to the Mayan idol, Maximón, is a highlight of any trip to Santiago Atitlàn. Unlike many such figures, you won’t... more travel advice
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