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The Highlands Travel Guide

Chichicastenango

Perched on a hillside, Chichicastenango ("the place of the nettles") is in many ways a typical highland town. The narrow cobblestone streets converge on a wide plaza where most days you'll find a few old men passing the time. You'd hardly recognize the place Thursday and Sunday, the two days a week on which one of the world's most famous markets takes place, when row after row of colorful

stalls fill the square and overflow into the adjoining alleys. There's a dizzying array of handmade items, from wooden masks to woolen blankets to woven baskets. Much of the artesanía is produced for tourists, but walk a few blocks in any direction and you'll find where the locals do their shopping. South of the square is a narrow street where women sell chickens. To the east you might run across a family trying to coax a just-purchased pig up a rather steep hill.

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