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Chichicastenango

Ethical Sourcing at the Largest Market in Central America

Chichicastenango, also known as Santo Tomás Chichicastenango, is world-renowned for its traditional K'iche' Maya culture. On Market Days [Thursdays and Sundays] people come from all over the world to enjoy the culture, food and shopping. Full of handicrafts, vintage pieces, traditional incense, and local cuisine - the Chichi Market is exploding with colors, scents and people. In the heart of the market is the 400-year old church of Santo Tomás which K'iche' Maya priests still use for their rituals, burning incense and candles.

Known for being the largest open-air market in Central America, we frequent here to visit our artisan partners and hunt for new styles. Just about 1.5 hours from Panajachel, making the trip to Chichi is easy to do as a day trip. Many of our trusted artisan partners sell here each week and are eager to meet travelers. From antique silver goods, to vintage textiles and even new leather bags - the Chichi market has something from everyone. 

 

Adventurous backpackers, textile enthusiasts, and fair trade buyers flock to the markets of Guatemala for its famous fabrics, rich with color and culture. While these markets can be fun to explore and a great place to find unusual treasures, it can be difficult to find specific goods with authentic stories! Many travelers and visitors want to support local makers but don’t want to get ripped off for phony “handmade” products. 

Interacting with vendors on a busy streets, it’s virtually impossible to get the true story of what you’re buying. Sadly, many street vendors will falsely assure you that their goods are handmade so that they can make a sale. If the goods are handmade, they were almost certainly not made by the person selling them on the street, and more likely than not they were produced under factory conditions. In this way, somewhat ironically, you’re not much better off than you are in a shopping mall! 

DAILY RATE:

$75 - $125 per person | 8am - 3pm * available in English or Spanish

ITINERARY: 

8:00am: Private Car to Chichicastenango

Meet in Panajachel to take the scenic drive to Chichicastenango

9:30am: Chichicastenango

Arrive in Chichi and immediately begin to explore the market.

11:00am: Iglesia Santo Tomas

Chichi was a significant Kaqchikel trading town long before the arrival of the Spanish. Its long history adds to the colors, flavors and vibes you find around every corner. The Santo Tomas church was built in 1540 and now holds ceremonies that combine traditional Maya with Christian elements.

11:30am: Antiquity Shopping

Right in front of the Santo Tomas Church is the antiquities wing of the market. Here you will find the rarest textiles and ancient silver trading pieces. You will also find a lot of the traditional wooden masks used for Maya ceremonies. 

12:30pm: Coffee and Snack Break

We'll stroll through the produce section of the market and grab a coffee and snack before heading back!

2:00pm: Return to Panajachel

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