We left Antigua on Sunday and headed up to Lake Atitlan, on our way we visited the Mayan market of Chichicastenango. Supposedly the biggest Mayan market in Guatemala and one of the most well known markets in Central America. The The kids have been begging to buy things in all the stores on our trip, especially Julie, so we had said that they could shop at this market. Really as more of a ploy to get them not to ask to buy things everywhere we went. Each kid was given 100 Quetzales or about $14 to shop. The town only has the market on Thursday and Sunday so it was good timing to visit on our way to Lake Atitlan.
On market days the indigenous Mayan population from the surrounding area bring their items to the town to sell to a wider audience. We were dropped off by our driver on the edge of the market chaos, there were little stalls of all sorts of trinkets lined up along all the streets of the town. We were told that we could find food in front of the church so off we went. It wasn’t until we asked that we were showed a small alley way that opened up into a larger cooking area. We sat down and order fried chicken, papas fritas and soup. The meal also came with the ubiquitous small corn tortilla that we saw being made all over in the market. It was all very tasty and filled our stomachs for our market adventure.
We split up with Julie and I together and Maddy with Caroline and Mimi and tackled the market. The market was sort of organized into types of wares for sale in different areas. Like lots of jewelry on one street and fruit in one area and textiles on another street but really just mashed together in a kaleidoscope of color. In front of one of the main churches they were selling flowers and made for a burst of yellow.
We had a fun time negotiating with the shop owners, Julie learned to walk away from the merchants and then they would yell a totally low-ball price at you. I purchased a dark green ring and an interesting Mayan coin and Julie bought a silver ring and some small figurines.
It was a fun experience had by all, we finally got extracted by our driver and headed to the massive caldera that is Lake Atitlan.