Bi-Weekly Market at Chichicastenango (approximately one hour by car from Pana). This colorful market is held every Thursday and Sunday and attracts both locals from the surrounding countryside and visitors from near and far. Although the twice-weekly market has become quite touristy in recent years, it is still well worth visiting to witness the surreal combination of colors, incense, cultures and goods for sale. Private transportation can take up to 12 passengers to
Chichicastenango for $100.00 round trip.
a. Fernando y Ariz Chan’s Textile Shop (7a. Calle 5-12, Zona 1): located one block North of the Catholic church on the corner, next-door to the municipal building. Fernando and his wife Ariz have many one-of-a-kind examples of the finest textiles that can be found in Guatemala. They are happy to tell you about the various pieces (origin, weaving techniques, etc.) to you even if you are not interested to make any purchases. If you are interested in owning one of the country’s finest hand woven textiles, then this shop is an excellent source. Prices range from around Q200.00 ($25.00) for some of the smaller pieces to over Q4000.00 ($500.00) for some of the larger, antique pieces made of silk.
b. Mayan Inn for lunch or drink in 1930s lounge. Entering this hotel, built in 1932 and decorated with antiques from all over Guatemalan is like stepping back in time. Upon entering the courtyard, you will be greeted by the cheerful music of the marimba as a man, dressed in traditional costume, plays age-old tunes. To the right is a cozy bar/lounge with
a fireplace and picturesque views onto the courtyard, where a man dressed in traditional costume playing the marimba (Guatemala’s national instrument) entices visitors to while away the afternoon while enjoying a cup of coffee or cold beer.. The Mayan Inn is also a wonderful choice for lunch: they have a prefix menu for around Q100.00 per person.
c. Pascual Abaj: This pre-Columbian hilltop site is sacred to the Quiche Maya. Located about a 20-minute walk from the Santo Tomas church, the ancient carved stone shrine located at the top of a pine-covered hilltop is still used by Mayan priests whom regularly perform ceremonies there.
d. Santo Tomas Catholic Church (built in 1540). Overlooking the outdoor market, this large church attracts many local Quiche Maya where they practice a combination of Christian and pre-Columbian religious traditions. Within this same church, the manuscript of the Popol Vuh, Guatemala’s greatest literary work, was discovered by Father Francisco
Ximénez when he served in Chichicastenango from 1701-1703. The manuscript, which was written by an anonymous Mayan author shortly after the Spanish conquest, contains the legends and history of the Quiché-Maya people.
e. Market The marketplace itself is located on the main square in Chichicastenango and is a kaleidoscope of color and activity, full of a huge variety of handmade textiles, artwork and handicrafts.
Bi-Weekly Market at Solola (20-minute drive from Pana) Authentic and colorful market held every Tuesday and Friday. (note: I highly recommend visiting this market, however do be sure to beware of pick pocketers!)