|Starts at:||2da Calle Poniente 2, Antigua, Guatemala|
Chichicastenango (local refers to it as Chichi) is an indigenous Town in the Guatemalan Highlands where a kaleidoscope of colors takes place.
Chichi is one of the largest market in Central America and was established before the Spanish arrival. Its primary purpose is to service locals who come far and wide to buy and sell products. The market is full of vegetables, fruits, handcrafts, textiles, artifacts, street food. A lot of people that live far away also visit their loved ones in the cementary, yes we will visit the cementary. We will also visit the artisanal traditional mask factory and Santo Thomas church (built in 1540) over the base of an archeological pre-Colombian temple, where we will experience the Guatemalan syncretism. You will see both the Mayan and the Latino influence throughout the interior and exterior of the church.
Life in Chichicastenango revolves around its main square and the market. The market is open on Thursdays and Sundays. Besides exploring the market, Its also a great place to people watch and learn about the Mayan culture. You will understand how people live and interact in Guatemala.
We will see the city by walking through the market and also taste fruits of the season like the traditional and original type of GUATEMALA BANANA as well as the traditional PAN DE MUERTO ‘bread of dead”. The bread is offered up honoring the four elements of life to those that are no longer in this physical cosmos. Expect to see plenty of colorful and beautiful textiles all around the market.
Chichi is a good example of indigenous culture and religious syncretism between Mayan beliefs and Christianity, in our visit to the artisanal factory we will have our chance to see the wonderful outfits the family create and we will have a little show of what a traditional dance looks like.
Our lunch will be served by the local family – TAMALES on Sundays and SAK’POR on Thursdays.
TAMALES: made of corn with meat and tomato sauce inside, wrapped into banana leaves and cooked with special wild leaves that contributes to a smoky flavor .
SAK’POR: This dish is made with natural and fresh foods, its main ingredients are chicken broth or chompipe, güicoy, güisquil, carrot and ground white corn flour or Sak’por – finely ground flavored corn flour, originally from Quiché, Chichicastenango
Vegetarian/Vegan option available as well. Please let us know in advance.
Casa Mandarina is located at 2da Calle Poniente 2, Antigua
Chichicastenango Mayan Market
It will take us 3 hours by car to reach Chichicastenango with some stops along the way (bathroom break and coffee). Once we reach the historic Chichi, we will take some time to wander its cobblestone streets and colonial structures before visiting the market. Thereafter we will visit the sprawling commercial center and browse the ceramics, woodcrafts, textile and vegetable market. You will have plenty of time to shop and bargain along with sample tasting of food.
Iglesia de Santo Tomas and Calvary Church
While we are at the market, we will proceed to Igesia de Santo Tomas (Church of Saint Thomas). This historic structure, built in 1540, often plays host to Mayan rituals. Just across the plaza is Calvary Church, a slightly more compact version of Iglesia Santo Tomas, which you’ll also have a chance to visit.
One of the world’s most colorful cemeteries, where each pigment is symbolic. Steeped in Mayan tradition, the vibrant rainbow of pigments celebrates the afterlife, and can symbolize different family roles, like a color-coded clue to the puzzle of the dead. You will see rows upon rows of painted crosses and tall mausoleums. The Chichicastenango Cemetery is a perfect example of Guatemala’s brighter outlook on burials.
Delicious lunch will be served at a local family house along with drinks. Please let us know in advance for vegetarian or vegan option.
The vibrantly colored masks were carved to be sold as souvenirs but masks have been an integral of Guatemalan culture since pre-Colombian times when they were used for religious dance ceremonies. Over time, dances evolved to incorporate both Mayan and Spanish influences. The tradition continues today with indigenous groups performing masked dances that reenact religious and mythological themes, often centered around fertility or warding away evil. We will have a little show of what a traditional dance looks like.
After the mask factory visit, we will head back to Antigua.
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.