Many of the towns in Guatemala end with “tenango.” I was told it meant “town of.” So, Chichicastenango is “town of Chichi.” Today, we take a shuttle to Chichicastenango, home to the largest textile market in Central America. This is one of two days in the week that vendors bring in their crafts, produce or whatever else they want to sell. As the van picks up passengers from different hotels in the area, we are pleasantly surprised to see Val and Paul, our bungalow neighbors from Tikal!
We’re told to all meet at Hotel Santo Tomas for the ride home. If you need to find a clean, well-maintained restroom, Santo Tomas has it! Have some quetzales ready as you have to pay for a ticket to use the facilities.
When bargaining, be bold to get a great price, but please be kind. It’s hard enough to make an honest living in such a poor country.
We walk through the crowded, colorful crafts and textiles areas before heading toward the produce area.
After cutting through a couple of long inner alleyways, we wind up in a very large eating area. We look around in wonder. There are no tourists! Locals are looking at us strangely, probably wondering what we’re doing here. Wow, just discovered the (hidden) dining area of the locals!
El Calvario, the church next to the market was built on hallowed Maya ground. The Maya embraced Catholicism and blended in their cultural rituals to create a unique religious experience.