Located in the Department of El Quiche, Chichicastenango stands in top of a platform surrounded by deep canyons , approachable only by a steep but picturesque road . It is “invaded” twice a week for people visiting the famous handicraft market, probably the most colorful in the country.
The Maya Quiche town is 2 and ½ hours drive from the city is one of the common tourist destinations of Guatemala. This tour combines a visit to Lake Atitlan altogether with a guided visit to the Church of Santo Tomas (circa 1540) where the Mayan Bible (Popol Vuh) was found over 200 years ago and syncretism ceremonies are held in the ancient Mayan fashion inside and outside the temple. The vendors set up there stalls every Thursday and Sunday around the church and they also occupy the nearby streets and avenues making Chichicastenangos market the largest open air handicraft market in the country. By middle morning the market is over flood with all kind of Mayan peoples and visitors. During the visit people have time at leisure to explore by themselves or go to the “Pascual Abaj Hill” where the traditional Mayan believers worship the World God. On the way to the top there is “Morrerias” factories where traditional dances customs are made, sold or/rented. Chicastenango is a Mayan community where the culture is very strong and the traditions are well kept, some of these dances are only perform during the patron saint festivity like the Palo Volador acrobatic dance (The Flying Pole).
Before returning to the city or Panajachel (32 km south) don´t forget to visit the local museum which displays a large collection of Pre-Columbian jade jewelry.