Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Chichicastenango (a town in the El Quiche' department of Guatemala) means "Tenango"= the place of "Chichi" = nettles, a very flowery tree. In fact the town is known just as Chichi. El Quiché is mainly populated by a large community of indigenous Maya who leave all over on the mountains surrounding Chichi. The visit of this town is definitely worth it only on its market days: Thursday and Sunday. It starts very early in the morning between 7 and 8 am and lasts until 4 pm when the stalls slowly start to get dismantled. The market stalls, mainly hand-made with wooden sticks and ropes only, are found along both sides of the back-streets and the biggest section is found in the main plaza between the two white churches facing one another (see picture of one church below).
The best time to shop is in the afternoon after 1pm when the majority of the tourists, who arrive with an organized tour, have just left and therefore it is easier to get better deals :o) . Bargaining is part of the game and the latest you'll do it better prices you'll get!