A slide show of Chichicastenango, Guatemala
Any place with a name like "Chichicastenango" would have to be exotic and "Chichi", as we call it, is that and much more.
Many Mayan villages in the mountains of Guatemala have "tenango" as part of their name; Momostenango, Huehuetenango and Quetzaltenango to name a few. "Tenango" means "the place of". Chichicaste is a rather nasty stinging nettle one finds all over Guatemala. While I have yet to see any there, "Chichicastenango" means "the place of the stinging nettle".
The Chichi market on Thursdays and Sundays is not to be missed. There are often a lot of fellow travelers there. In parts of the market French, Italian, German and English are almost as commonly heard as Spanish, but make the effort to listen for Quiche – the Mayan language of the region. Walk two or three meters away from the souvenir stands and you'll find yourself surrounded by a people as colorful and exotic as any on earth.
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