Chichicastenango – mostly called Chichi by locals and foreign travelers alike – is a town in the Quiche department of Guatemala that is famous for its market, which is said to be one of the largest outdoor markets in Latin America.
Chichicastenango has been one of the largest trading centers of the Mayan world since pre-Hispanic times and every Sunday and Thursday, vendors and buyers from the entire Quiche region and beyond come together in Chichicastenango to trade. From household items to electronics, from work boots to hats, from beans to live chickens, there are few products that cannot be found in the market.
Some items the market in Chichicastenango is particularly famous for are hand-woven fabrics and women's blouses in the traditional Mayan designs and colors, boots and other leather goods, and wooden ceremonial masks that are still used in some Mayan rituals.
Right next to the market is the 400-year-old church of Santo Tomas, which was built on a pre-Columbian temple platform. Eighteen steps, symbolizing the 18 months of the Mayan calendar, lead up to the church and are still venerated by the Maya. The church is unique in that both Catholic services and Mayan rituals are performed inside.
Visit Chichicastenango for a unique market experience! You will also find some great souvenirs here!
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The market in Chichicastenango is one of the largest outdoor markets in Latin America. It is easy to reach by shuttle bus from Antigua Guatemala, which makes it a great destination for a day trip while you study Spanish in Antigua.
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You will be picked up at your homestay or hotel at 7 am. The drive to Chichicastenango takes about 2.5 to 3 hours and the shuttle bus will drop you off on the main street right next to the market.
The market is in the central plaza and the surrounding streets. You can explore most of it in a couple of hours. Also worth a visit is the church of Santo Tomas, which is right next to the market.
You can have lunch in one of the many small restaurants ("comedores") in the market or in one of the more formal restaurants on main street.
The shuttle bus back to Antigua leaves in the early afternoon and arrives in Antigua around 5 pm.
|Day trip to Chichicastenango||US$30.00 per person|
Included: Round-trip transportation by shuttle bus
Not included: Meals, drinks, tips
Payment: Payment in full must be received at least 7 days before the tour begins; or at the time of booking if less than 7 days before the tour.
Cancellation policy: Full refund minus a US$10.00 cancellation fee if you cancel more than 7 days before the tour begins. No refund or credit for later cancellations or no-shows.
The market in Chichicastenango takes place twice a week, on Thursday and Sunday. On other days of the week there is not much to see and do there.
On market days, however, Chichicastenango attracts large numbers of visitors from near and far. Inside of the market it can get quite crowded and you'll need to watch your belongings carefully.
The market primarily serves the people of the Quiche region and many typical Mayan goods can be found here. If you are looking for a great souvenir of your Guatemala trip, you'll be sure to find it here!