Travel Guide Central America Guatemala Chichicastenango



Chichicastenango or "Chichi" as it's known locally is an incredibly atmospheric little market town set up high on the mountains (around 2,000 metres) around 2 hours/140 kilometres from Guatemala City. Famous for its colourful indigenous market held every Thursday and Sunday, it's really worth a visit to soak up some of the local K'iche' Maya culture and customs and marvel at the stunningly beautiful traditional native costumes and textiles.If you can,visit this magical little place on a Sunday as the cofradias (Mayan religious brotherhoods)
often hold processions,chanting and burning incense, around the narrow,cobbled streets of the church of Santo Tomas and inside the church itself.



Sights and Activities

  • The church of Santo Tomas dating from 1540 is a fascinating mixture of Catholic and Mayan religious practices.
  • Chichi Market, Plaza Central, Chichicastenango 14006, Guatemala. Thursday and Sunday. Morning to late afternoon.. A large market on Thursdays and Sundays with a wide range of handicrafts from local and far flung Mayan communities. Be ready to bargain in a pleasant and enjoyable sort of way!



Events and Festivals

The Festival of Saint Thomas just before Christmas takes place in quite a dream like an other-wordly atmosphere. A lot of alcohol is consumed! It's a riotous, vibrant festival where the highland Indians pour into Chichi to celebrate with music and dance. Firecrackers, the sound of drums, incense wafting around the atmospheric, winding streets and effigies of patron saints being paraded around make for a really special and intense experience.



Getting There

By Bus

Buses and shuttles travel to Guatemala City and Antigua daily. On market days you can get a shuttle bus from Panajachel on Lake Atitlan (37 kilometres, takes 1.5 hours).




  • Casa de San Juan, 4a Ave. Plaza Central, Chichicastenango, Guatemala (Tucked away as it is on a side street of the plaza central, ask for directions from any shop around the plaza.), ☎ +502 4145 1901. This is where upscale Guatemalans go for good food. The restaurant is in an old colonial building near the iglesia and offers a mix of Guatemalan dishes along with burgers etc.
  • Restaurante Don Pasqual, 4a Ave San Juan 6-57 (Easy to find since it is on the main market street), ☎ +502 5665 6421. The restaurant is on the second floor so you get great views of the market. but this is the "tourist" restaurant in Chichi. On market days you'll see a mostly white crowd eating a mix of Guatemalan and mexican food.




  • Posada el Arco - Calle 4-36 4, Chichicastenango 14006, Guatemala, ☎ +502 4584 0061. Family run posada with a garden. Breakfast included. Unfortunately not easy to reserve (no website, no email, and phone hardly ever works). You'll get a room if you show up. Walking distance from the (famous!) market. $15-$30.
  • Santo Tomas Hotel, Av 5 - 32 Zona unica 7, Chichicastenango 14006, Guatemala. The upscale hotel in Chichi. Right next to the market and the church.
  • Mayan Inn - A lovely old inn and probably the best hotel in town to soak up a truly authentic Guatemalan experience.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)



Keep Connected


Internet access is widely available. Even most of the more remote areas have some type of internet access available. Many larger areas also have WiFi. All of the Camperos chicken/pizza restaurants (which are numerous) offer free WiFi, as well as many other restaurants and cafes. Some hotels may also offer computer banks with internet access. Just ask and you eventually will find some sort of free access.

If you have a smartphone such as iPhone, Google Android, you just need a local SIM card (roughly Q25) and can start enjoying the prepaid access plans, which generally come in lots of an hour, a day, or a week.


See also International Telephone Calls

Guatemala's emergency phone numbers include 110 (police), 120 (ambulance) and 123 (fire). Guatemala's international calling code is 502. There are no area codes. Phone numbers all have eight digits.

The phone system isn't great, but it works. Tourists can call abroad from call centers, where you pay by the minute. It is also easy to purchase a calling card to use at public pay phones. The phones there do not accept money, so to use a public phone on the street you must purchase a telephone card. Typically, the cost is around 8 quetzals for a 10-min call to North America, and slightly more to Europe. Cell phones are quite cheap and calling overseas through one can get as low as $0.08 a min. If you are planning to stay for a while and plan to use the phone, you should consider buying a cheap prepaid phone. Wireless nation-wide internet access for laptops is also available as a service from some companies. Telefónica has good coverage with their PCMCIA EV-DO cards.


El Correo is the national postal company in Guatemala. It offers a wide range of services, including sending cards and packages both domestically as well as internationally. Most Guatemalan towns have a post office, although your best bet is to send mail from a large city. Service at El Correo is improving, thanks to consultation and assistance from Canada Post. Most post offices open from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Airmail letters to North America and Europe cost from Q6.50 and take a week or two to arrive. High-end hotels can usually send your mail for you, too. Expect packages you send through the Guatemalan mail system to take a very long time to arrive. They usually get there in the end, but it's worth paying extra for recorded delivery (correo registrado). Many stores can ship your purchases for you, for a cost. Valuable items are best sent with private express services. Couriers operating in Guatemala include DHL, UPS, and FedEx. Delivery within two to three business days for a 1-kg package starts at about Q500.


Accommodation in Chichicastenango

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Chichicastenango searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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This is version 25. Last edited at 8:44 on Jan 31, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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