Are you traveling to Chichicastenango and looking for ideas?
It’s a rich little region that should make it very easy to get a fuller appreciation of this part of the world.
While the name might be a bit of a tongue-twister, a trip to Chichicastenango is a truly special part of any trip around Guatemala.
With its cobblestone streets, indigenous Maya culture and habited by the Masheños this cute town located in the Guatemalan highlands.
But what else should you come here for? Famous for its open-air market, which like the rest of the town, is surrounded by valleys and mountains. Let’s look at what else you can get up to here.
Things to do in Chichicastenango
As a truly special place; this is a location you’ll find almost impossible to leave on arrival. Where, though, should your journey begin?
Is there a better place to start your trip than the most amazing market in Guatemala? The Maya Market of Chichicastenango.
You can head around the market and see it all waiting for you, with tour guides also available if you want some extra protection.
If the market is all you’re interested in seeing in Chichicastenango, you can do a 10-hour tour via Antigua and get dropped back off.
Overall, though, a trip to this market should see you leave with a special gift for everyone who is waiting for you back home!
Head to the Sacrifice Stone
Known as the Pascual Abaj, this Sacrifice Stone is an old monument that was built in reverence of the Mayan Earth God, Huyup TAk’ah.
It’s a place of spiritual reverence in the region, so make sure any trip that you take here is extremely serious.
How are your Spanish conversation skills going?
Listen to what the locals have to say, too, and you will learn a great deal about this special part of the region.
Forget culture shock and all that, this is definitely one for those who are intrigued by the local culture and want to learn more.
Go to the Villa Cofrades
For architecture fans, a visit to the Villa Cofrades is a must to spend your time intelligently.
Tucked away in the Centro Comercial Santo Tornas, this beautiful building is one of the most stunning you’ll see anywhere in the country.
If you are looking for some tranquillity, you are very likely to see some other people here enjoying the amazing sights to behold on display.
For art fans, the Galeria Pop-Wuj is a great place to visit.
You’ll find plenty of interesting things waiting for you in this gallery.
It was developed as a local art institute for children, and some of the artwork here is viewed as some of the most important in the country.
Absolutely worth a moment of your time to come and observe up-close; you will likely never forget the enriching beauty that you find adorning the walls of the Galeria Pop-Wuj.
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Where to Stay in Chichicastenango
About 1 hour from Lago Atitlan, on arrival you’ll find some good accommodation in at the Hotel Museo Mayan or one of the others.
There are hostels, Airbnbs and Homestays, which are my favorite options; even better value when connected to a Spanish School.
Try to get accommodation close to the Main Plaza as this is the heart of Chichicastenango and where everything happens.
I recommend carrying a packable travel jacket as Chichicastenango is situated at 2172 meters above sea level, and it can get rather nippy.
Or if you’re unprepared, buy yourself some clothing from the market to keep yourself warm.
If using Airbnb, hosts will provide extra sheets for those chilly nights.
3 reasons why I use AirBnb
- Get to know local people
- Gain anauthentic living experiences
- Have private space to think/work
Here are three reasons to use a hostel in Chichicastenango.
As I mentioned in other sections, hostels can be a good choice, especially if you want to connect with other travelers.
- Connect with other travellers
- Look for local activities that are unique to tourists
- To practice living on a budget
Airbnb can provide you with a solid strategy for accommodation in Chichicastenango. But look at what your personal needs are.
When in Guatemala, I’m always after a decent internet connection.
However, I find mixing up your accommodation types is always the best way to go for a more rounded experience.
Where to Eat in Chichicastenango
My advice on where to eat in Chichicastenango is to head for the market. I hope you like fried chicken; if not, you’ll find other options.
My goal is to always experience the local food, and there’s no better place to do this than in the Chichicastenango market.
Try to remember that Chichicastenango is not a town for eating out late, so head out early to guarantee yourself a plate of food.
Should your Guatemala travel budget be quite sparse, don’t worry. Eating out during the day is a wrap.
You’ll more than likely be overwhelmed by the number of food stalls, food vendors and choice. Enjoy local food while you can is my motto.
Other than the rather odd cultural quirks of this amazing venue, you should find it very easy indeed to settle here.
Chichicastenango Travel Tips
In terms of the most enjoyable things to do here, I recommend that you take a trip to the market. You could lose hours here.
Arriving in the morning to enjoy the marketplace, it is one of the largest in the country.
Everything from amazing local artisan crafts to local produce can be found but just beware of the local produce. Always wash before eating.
If you’re unsure, do a bit of reading about any fruit or vegetable that you buy, and you can avoid any unhealthy or unwelcome surprises!
Travel Insurance for Chichicastenango
Staying safe whilst traveling in Guatemala and the rest of Central America means ensuring that you have the right insurance cover.
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Things to do in Chichicastenango
With so much to find and so little time, the above activities should offer you a fine starting point.
It’s the perfect example of the rich tranquillity that makes up a large portion of Guatemalan life!
If you do come here, make sure that you appreciate a large number of local and cultural events that take place.
Many backpackers like to get involved in the culture and take part in the available ceremonies, such as the Feast of Santo Tomas.
Are you feeling inspired? See my guide to backpacking Guatemala for more ideas on where to go during your travels in this amazing country.
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