But today, with a travel sustaining blog, I’m finally able to experience all those quintessential backpacker things that I missed out on as a kid.
Having the luxury to explore and even buy things at the Chichicastenango Market this weekend was one of those things. It reminded how much better travel is with a bit a cash in your pocket, and how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing.
Although I’ve experienced some pretty cool markets around the world, notably the Chatuchak market in Bangkok and various bazaars in Tunis, Jerusalem, and Damascus, the Chichi Market in Guatemala takes the crown as the worlds coolest street market.
What Makes Chichi Market So Cool?
In the markets of South East Asia, locally produced bronze Buddha’s, offering bowels, and tapestries are too often in competition with cheaper Chinese made imitations.
In the bazaars of the Middle East, almost every other shop can be seen selling nearly identical tourist oriented souvenirs made in you guessed it, China.
You might as well just head to China Town in New York City where you will find all the same crap; a miniature replica of Tutut’s Tomb, a Great Pyramids of Giza lighter, or a Tom Yum soup packet with Thai spices.
So What Makes It So Cool?
It is pleasantly lacking in mass produced Chinese goods.
It’s geographic isolation in the Guatemalan Highlands has resulted in a market that it relatively untouched by globalization.
It has an atmosphere of authenticity, which makes you feel as though you have traveled back to the early 20th century.
While there are a few Chinese and American made products, the bulk of the goods for sale are unique, locally produced, and most notably, inspired by ancient Mayan culture.
Coolest Things To Buy At Chichi Market
Traditional Mayan blankets, clothes, and tapestries are definitely the highlights of Chichi market. Other cool items include ancient Mayan coins, carved wooden animal spirit masks, Mayan style jade jewelry, herbal medicines, and hammocks.
To get a better idea of the market, witness some haggling in action and to see some of the things I picked up, check out the video below.
But before that, I have to send out a huge thanks to Mark B. and GoEuro for making this adventure possible.
If you would like to receive a package of cool stuff from Chichi market and help keep me fed, check out my FEED ME page for info on the rewards of becoming a sponsor. Happy Holidays and safe travels on the road and on the road of life! – Leif