Chichicastenango is a town of a thousand colours. With its vibrant market square selling pretty much everything you could ever need in every colour of the rainbow. Especially on Thursday’s and Sundays when the market spills out from the central plaza into all of the little surrounding side streets. I also found the rainbow hued cemetery fascinating. Gravestones and tombs of differing sizes, shapes and colours are certainly a more personal way of remembering and celebrating someone after they are gone.
Me and my friend Lainey stayed in Chichi just for one night so that we could attack the Sunday markets bright and early. However it seemed that while we were up and raring to go at a respectable time of 7am, many of the market tenders were still (slowly) unpacking their wares and setting up the stalls. As a result I would say that it’s not entirely necessary to stay over in Chichi itself to visit the markets as Panajachel at the Lake is a mere 1hr ½ on a couple of easy chicken bus rides. That being said, I did enjoy the freedom of being able to explore the cemetery the day before the markets as that was personally my highlight of Chichi!
The markets are pretty hectic once they do get in full swing and it’s very important to have your bartering “game-face” on. If you feel uncomfortable at all with bartering ridiculously then be prepared to get taken for a ride with these veteran market tenders!
Although we didn’t actually buy a heap of stuff we did get the opportunity to do some serious haggling for the few items that we did want; and let me say it got tiring real quick! It’s literally relentless, the stall owners constantly berating you if you even so much as glance at anything they have and even if you avoid eye contact they are still on you like a dog on heat! Of course there is a lot of competition because everyone sells pretty much the same things but in my opinion this doesn’t make it easier it makes it harder! The competition rides the prices down a little but they surely must be in some sort of agreement because they all have the same limits.
The atmosphere at the markets is also nice of course but in the end we both got tired of the shouting, the brisk chill in the air and having to elbow through the petite Mayan people!