Chichicastenango`s bustling Thursday and Sunday market is said to be the most colorful in all of Guatemala. Therefore, Chichicastenango 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 actually larger than that of Chichi. However, Chupol caters to a local clientele, and therefore 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. These are also the market days in San Lucas Tolimán and Santiago Atitlán. Solola’s market has relocated to a new modern facility which lacks the charm of the old market in the streets of Sololá. Nahualá likewise has a bustling Sunday market. Therefore, buyers and sellers 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 days.
Historic Market of San Andrés
San Andrés Semetabaj has long been a center of commercial activity and cultural mixing. However, once San Andrés dominated the lake region. San Andrés once was home to a prosperous pre-Classic Maya community. Merchants therefore traveled great distances to trade there. They journeyed from Teotihuacán in Central Mexico and from Kaminaljuyú (the adobe metropolis), now part of Guatemala City. However, in the present day, San Andrés only hosts a market on Tuesdays. San Andrés will probably never have the booming commerce which it had 2,600 years ago. However, one of the best local markets is in its aldea Godinez, on 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, attracting buyers and sellers from all over. In addition, 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 lakeside markets. However, there too, most buyers and sellers speak k’iche’ and wear the clothing of Nahualá.
Sololá, San Lucas Tolimán, and Panajachel
Towns around Lake Atitlán evolved in relative isolation from their neighbors.They therefore developed their own cultural traits, mode of dress, and languages. Market day in Sololá, San Lucas, or Panajachel is a meeting of these distinct peoples. Therefore, the variety of clothing styles and Maya idioms spoken is astounding.
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.