Thursday, November 20, 2008

Destination: Chichicastenango, Guatemala

During our trip to Guatemala, we visited many different markets. Every city and town has its very own. Chichicastenango's market is by far the most impressive though. After all, it is Central America's largest. We arrived on a Saturday evening, as we wanted to get there before the action began on Sunday. From Quetzaltenango, it only took us about two hours to get to there on a shuttle bus.

My first impression of Chichi was how mysterious it seemed, given its location in the highlands, it is surrounded by mountains. Although it's quite touristy, I do recommend it. I found the town charming and enchanting. We walked around town, where most of the streets where quiet. There were a couple of vendors still open for business. It was really chilly and I desperately needed something warm to wear. So, I decided to buy myself a shawl. I visited a couple of stalls and every vendor offered me a "discount." Haggling is definitely a must in all markets! On the other hand, I thought about how much the seller was making and I would have felt a bit embarrassed if I pushed too hard.

On market day, the town was filled with energy and people. You'll see the Mayan women scurrying around in their brightly colored dresses, usually with their belongings on the top of their heads. The market at Chichi is so huge, you'll find everything from flowers, fruit and vegetables to shoes, belts and souvenirs. My favorite part about the market was simply the people watching. Please note: if you suffer from claustrophobia, the market might not be your cup of tea. Be aware of pickpocketters as well! We were also warned not to visit the town's well-known cemetery, since there have been attacks on tourists.

No comments: