Chichicastenango is not only a huge word, but a huge market as well. In fact, it is the largest in Central America. We left San Pedro one Sunday to see what it was all about.
Getting to Chichicastenango
So after reading this helpful post, we decided to go to Chichi the local way. We took one lancha, one tuk tuk, and three chicken buses to get there but the journey was half the fun. Not to mention it is way cheaper than booking with a tour. The total cost of our transportation there was only $6 per person!
What to Expect at Chichicastenango
The market starts on the streets and then goes into lots of indoor stalls including a basketball court full of produce vendors. The market also runs between 3 churches and there was even a religious procession going on while we were there! Seeing the ladies sell fresh flowers on the church steps is a beautiful sight.
I’m not sure if it was because we couldn’t comprehend its vastness, but Chichi didn’t feel that huge. The market in Antigua seemed crazier. However it is crowded and functions almost like its own little city. There are certain market days (Thursday and Sunday) when it is notorious for being crowded. We went on a Sunday so I am not sure what it’s like on the other days.
We were a little underwhelmed at the variety of goods. It seemed like there were only clothes, and granted a TON of clothes everywhere, but not much else. We were surprised we didn’t see more pottery, livestock, food, etc but we could have missed an entire section, who knows!?
However, the clothing section is BEAUTIFUL. I was already enamored with the way the Guatemalan ladies dress but to see the source of their traditional dresses, or huipils, was amazing. The colors are so bright and pure. I wanted to buy a traditional shirt but was shocked at the price. They were around $30 after haggling! This is understandable if they are truly handmade but we saw a lot of suspiciously similar ones.
There are a few lunch stalls in one spot selling traditional food. We had paches (potato tamales), sides, and drinks for less than $3!
Chichicastenango is a great day trip from the lake and a nice way to immerse yourself into the hustle and bustle of Guatemala’s market lifestyle.
Want more information to plan your trip to Chichicastenango? Check out the Guatemala Lonely Planet here.
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