Chichicastenango is home to one of the most colorful markets in all of Central America, maybe even the world. A secluded community atop mountains in the El Quiché section of Guatemala, the market in “Chichi” starts just before dawn every Thursday and Sunday. Some villagers walk throughout the night, over mountains and through valleys to reach the isolated town just to sell their goods.
Tourist based souvenirs, now occupy most of the outer square, but if you are looking to dig deeper, make your way into the north end of the plaza in El Centro Commercial. This is where you will find the villagers everyday needs like vegetables, fruit, clothing, spices, fresh meat (both alive and dead), buckets, rope, maize, incense, & sewing supplies.
At the heart of Centro commercial are comedores (small eateries) that take on full life after hours of the market around 3 or 4pm. Despite that Chichi is quite touristy, the market remains a necessary part of indigenous life not only for food but social interaction.
At the east end of Chichi lays the 400-year old church of Santo Tomás. The 18 cobblestone steps that surround its white walls represent each month of the Mayan calendar year. The sky is filled with smells of incense and fresh flowers sold by native women who still wear their traditional Huipile (blouse) and skirt also known as a Corte. Depending on where the women are from, a different pattern of embroidery has been hand sewn on her huipile to represent her village.