One of the main attractions near Panjachel is the great market at Chichicastenango. It is a short drive and only happens on Sunday. Luckily for us, we were in town on a Sunday and had a free day to make the trip. We met our Canadian friends for breakfast and then made the drive.
The central meeting point at the market is the staircase in front of the cathedral (above). We agreed if we split up that we would meet back here at noon and then headed out to see the sights of the market. The market is not catered to tourists, it is an actual trading market where many of the local people come to buy and sell animals, food and clothing. Because the population here has such a high percentage of indigenous (Indian) people, the market has become popular with many tourists who want to see the locals in an undisturbed environment. Over the years as tourists have come to see the market it has adapted to the demand for tourist items and I found some nice silver jewelry and other marketable items that were geared towards the tourist demand.
I was quite interested to watch the local people as they bought and sold items (above) and used my meager Spanish to ask about prices and to find out their business was going. The people were quite friendly and I heard many of them speaking their local indigenous language; it sounded to me like one of the languages of the Native Americans of my own country.
I tried some of the local cooked potatoes and bread and had some local matte. I added a bit of sugar and it was warm and made for a nice contrast to the lovely local bread. I didn’t try any of the local fruit but there was quite a variety considering the high altitude of this place.
The colors of the local clothing is bright and I enjoyed looking at all of the different colors and patterns of cloth. The local people dressed in all manner of bright clothing and were selling blankets with beautiful designs. As I walked around the market I did see quite a few tourists, many from Australia, US & Canada and Europe. The whole market had a very “laid back” feel about it and I really enjoyed shopping and sightseeing there.
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