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.
The norm of any market in the country is to have food and clothing. Chichi did not disappoint.
Since this market is so big they also have more selection of non-traditional market items.
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?
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.
Santo Tomas Church - built around 1545, local Mayan priests regularly perform relgious rituals here.
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.