Incognito at the Chichi Market

Chichicastenango, known throughout the country as just Chichi, is a 1.5 hour drive North from Lake Atitlan. Chichi is located in the El Quiché department (think State or County) of Guatemala. Over 98% of the local population are indigenous. While Spanish is the legal language it's not uncommon to hear the native Quiché Mayan dialect being spoken.

 

Chichi's claim to fame is it's twice weekly market. It is the biggest market in the country. Every Thursday and Sunday the town's plaza is filled with make shift tables, shelves and stands selling countless homemade, homegrown and recycled items. The plaza is no where near big enough to contain the market. It spills out to the surrounding city blocks which are closed to cars, motorcycles and tuk-tuks during the twice weekly example of local entrepreneurship. 

We've lived in Guatemala for 7 months but last weekend was our first visit to the market. It's size and variety far surpasses any other market we've seen in the country. It's a trek worth making.

 You don't see cars with US plates in this country so just pulling into town gets us noticed

You don't see cars with US plates in this country so just pulling into town gets us noticed

 This picture was taken about two blocks from the town's plaza, vendors were located in all directions.

This picture was taken about two blocks from the town's plaza, vendors were located in all directions.

The norm of any market in the country is to have food and clothing. Chichi did not disappoint.

 scores of fresh fruits and veggies were littered throughout the market

scores of fresh fruits and veggies were littered throughout the market

 The Chichi market is for the birds. (both living and dead)

The Chichi market is for the birds. (both living and dead)

 Traditional, and more modern, mayan clothing and accessories were everywhere

Traditional, and more modern, mayan clothing and accessories were everywhere

Since this market is so big they also have more selection of non-traditional market items.

 This farmer is selling bags of limestone rocks for Q3 (about 39 cents US). The rocks are used for cleaning. Tag thought thiat was cool!

This farmer is selling bags of limestone rocks for Q3 (about 39 cents US). The rocks are used for cleaning. Tag thought thiat was cool!

 This vendor had several tables stocked with items that brought back memories of working at Radio Shack in the  90's). 

This vendor had several tables stocked with items that brought back memories of working at Radio Shack in the  90's). 

 plants vs. Zombies and spiderman on a motorcycle pinatas for sale 

plants vs. Zombies and spiderman on a motorcycle pinatas for sale 

At one point Tag was approached by a man selling straw hats. Tag really wanted one. What the heck, maybe it would help us blend in with the local culture?

 Epic FaIL! For some reason the hat failed to put our family in incognito mode. Not sure Why.

Epic FaIL! For some reason the hat failed to put our family in incognito mode. Not sure Why.

There are two other less popular attractions in town. We saw them both from a distance but did not have time to check them out.

Chichi Cemetery - known for it's colorful graves.

 Chichi Cemetery seen in the distance

Chichi Cemetery seen in the distance

Santo Tomas Church - built around 1545, local Mayan priests regularly perform relgious rituals here.

 The front of Santo Thomas Church. I'm unsure of the purpose of the fire.

The front of Santo Thomas Church. I'm unsure of the purpose of the fire.

The day was a success. Despite the walking even the kids enjoyed it. We'll be back and next time we'll save time to hit the other sites.