Chichicastenango`s bustling Thursday and Sunday market is said to be the most colorful in all of Guatemala. Therefore Chichi is a favorite day trip for visitors to nearby Lake Atitlán. Overlooked by tourists, however, are other flourishing markets in the vicinity. For instance, the Sunday market of Aldea Chupol is larger than that of Chichi. However, Chupol caters to a local clientele, and rarely sees tourists.
In addition, the Department of Sololá has several thriving markets. Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday are the big days in the city of Sololá and in San Lucas Tolimán and Santiago Atitlán. Solola’s market has relocated to a new modern facility which therefore lacks the charm of the old market. Similarly, Nahualá has a bustling Sunday market. Buyers and sellers therefore come from far and wide. San Pedro la Laguna and Panajachel have fairly active markets every day of the week. However, Thursday and Sunday are their busiest.
San Andrés Semetabaj
San Andrés Semetabaj has long been a crossroads. Once it boasted a prosperous pre-Classic Maya community, however. Merchants therefore traveled to trade there from Teotihuacán in Mexico and Kaminaljuyú, now part of Guatemala City.. Oddly, there is no market in San Andrés in the present, except for Tuesday. San Andrés therefore will probably never again have the booming market which it had 600 years before Christ. However, one of the best public markets takes place in its aldea, Godinez, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Godinez touches.the municipalities of Santa Catarina Palopó, San Antonio Palopó, and Patzún, Chimaltenango.. Although tiny, Godinez is therefore a vital crossroads. It therefore has buyers and sellers from all over. Moreover, Godinez is a microcosm of my three favorite local markets: Sololá, San Lucas, and Panajachel. What separates these markets from others in the area is their cosmopolitan flavor. Atitlán`s Friday market is quite big. However, there everyone dresses in the clothing of Atitlán. Likewise, all transactions are in Tzutujil mixed with Spanish. Nahualá´s Sunday market is perhaps larger than any others lakeside. However, there too, both buyers and sellers speak k’iche’ and wear clothing of Nahualá.
Sololá, San Lucas Tolimán, and Panajachel
Towns around Lake Atitlán evolved in relative isolation from their neighbors.They thus became in many ways distinct nations. They developed their own cultural traits, mode of dress, and languages. Market day in Sololá, San Lucas, or Panajachel is therefore a meeting of these nations. Represented is attire from many lands. Therefore, I am feasted and assaulted by color.
I see women of noble carriage balancing upon their heads bunches of vegetables and long-stemmed flowers wrapped in colorful tzutes. I hear the steady clap of girls making tortillas. Thus, in the flash and flood of color and impressions everything clashes. However, at the same time, all combines just perfectly.