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Chichicastenango    ( Saturday 02/19 - Sunday Morning 02/20 )

Busstop in Chichicastenango Since on Sunday there is the "famous" market day in Chichicastenango ( 2030 m ) I decided to go there Men unload a Truck to prepare for the market day in Chichi by bus already on Saturday. I did just take a my small backpack with the camera and left my big backpack in my apartment in Pana. The day before, I had asked in the tourist office in Pana when the bus to Chichi ( short for Chichicastenango ) will leave the next day and they had told me at 9am. So I was shortly before 9am at the main bus stop in Pana and was looking for the bus to Chichi. Since I was not able to find the bus, I did ask a few busdrivers for the bus to Chichi, but they told me that there is no direct connection to Chichi on this day, but I could take a bus up to Los Encuertos and catch there a bus to Chichi. At 9.30am the bus to Los Encuertos left Pana after a 35 minutes drive I had to switch the bus to catch the one to Chichi, and I had luck since the bus to Chichi arrived at the same time as we did view of the market in Chichi - in the back Santo Tomás church road from the plaza to the Hospedaje Salvador in Los Encuertos - so I did ran over there and was able to get on. On the bus I started to talk with an other traveller, a girl named Manuela from Germany. We decided to look together for a room in Chichi. We went directly from the bus stop over the plaza ( where they started to build up the market ) to the Hospedaje Salvador ( 5a Av 10-09, Zona 1 ), two blocks southwest of the Santo Tomás church. A two bed room with private bath did cost about $9 (70 GTQ). From the roof of the Hospedaje you have a great view over the village and it's sourroundings. After we had "settled" in the room we went for lunch to a restaurant overviewing the plaza. Than we strolled over the market, went into the church of Santo Tomás through the side door on the right, since the front steps should only Hospedaje Salvador A mayan ceremonie in front of the Capilla del Calvario used by church officials ( and definitely not by tourists! ). Inside of the church there is a plain wooden altar and on the floor you'll find offerings like flowers and candles all over the church - it's really beautiful. On the other side of the plaza there is a smaller church Capilla del Calvario, where we were lucky to witness a mayan ceremonie in front of the church. After that stroll through the town we went back to the hospedaje to relax, Manuela did lay down to get some sleep and I did sit down on the terrace and read a bit in my book. At 5.30pm I decided to go again to the plaza, sip a coffee and observe the plaza which was bustling with life to prepare everything for the market day on sunday. At 7pm I met with Manuela for dinner at "La Villa de los Cofrades No 2" ( corner 5a Av / 6a Calle ) and I got "pollo con frijoles y papas" ( very good ). After that we walked again over the market and around 10.30pm we were back at our room. We decided to get up early in the morning to get to the market before all the day-tourists will arrive there. So shortly after 7am we left the hospedaje and went through the market which was already filled of live. Here some impressions of the market:

Cooking breakfast
"Cooking Breakfast"

Fresh fruit
"Tons" of fresh fruit

Flowers on the steps of Santo Tomás church
Flowers are sold on the steps
of Santo Tomás church
Chichi's Market and Santo Tomás church
Chichi's Market in the back
Santo Tomás church

Family in traditional clothes
A family in traditional clothing

wooden masks
Wooden masks
dried fish
Dried fish & spices

textiles for tourists
Textiles for tourists

vegetables for the locals
Vegetables for the locals

In the center of the market you'll find all the stuff for the locals, like vegetables, fruits, baked goods, spices, soap, clothing, toys ...etc. In the stalls around the edges of the square you'll find all the tourist-oriented stuff, mostly carved wooden masks and the colorful guatemalan textiles.
After I did take some pictures of the market, we went at around 8am for breakfast in the restaurant "Tziguan Tinamit" ( corner 5a Av / 6a Calle ), there I had the "huevos, frijoles, queso y pan. On Saturday I had already decided not to buy anything on Chichi's market, because I had compared some prices to Pana and the stuff was cheaper there ( but I have to say I was told you can get good pices in Chichi shortly before the market will close ). So after breakfast I said goodbye to Manuela and went to the bus stop to catch at 9.30am a bus back to Pana. On the way back to Los Encuertos many busses - mainly full of day tourists - came toward us on their way to Chichi - so I was glad that I had travelled already the day before to Chichi and would recommend to everyone to do that. But be aware that on Saturday you shouldn't arrive to late in Chichi, because otherwise there is a good chance that you won't be able to find any room in Chichi, since there's just a limited number of hotels / hospedajes.



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All photographs contained on this site are Copyright   -   2001 Tina Leidinger

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