Map of Town of ChichicastenangoLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Chichicastenango was a fascinating small city to visit. You don't come for nature's beauty, ancient stone artifacts, or grand palaces, but for its unique living culture. The people and their culture descend from the ancient Maya, and that heritage still infuses everyday life. The evolution of culture is on evident display, a mix of the modern and the ancestral. Sometimes in easily visible things like the traditional clothing, sometimes in many more subtle ways, like the cartoonish mask of a colonial Spaniard used in a local folk dance. The ancient religious practices mix unabashedly with Catholicism. The pretty colonial church on the plaza mayor had the most incense-saturated atmosphere I have ever been in. We were invited to accompany a local shaman into the woods to observe some religious ritual, an experience that was amazing at the time (and in hindsight, maybe a little scary). The central open-air market is an amazing place to check out the local foodstuffs, as well as notice the colorful fabrics and their weave patterns representing individual villages.
Our hotel was also a unique experience. No locks on the door, but we were assigned one man who was responsible for our room and making sure it was secured. No central heat -- if the cool mountain air was too cold, you had your guy build a fire in the fireplace.
I think Chichi definitely has OUV, but it is mostly of the intangible type that is harder to preserve.
We visited Chichi in 1988, during a relatively peaceful pause from the political unrest and violence that had wracked Guatemala years prior. So I must apologize if my review is a tad out-of-date, but it was such an unforgettable place!