Although the main reason we took a day trip to Chichicastenango was to see the world-famous market, a walk-through the Chichicastenango cemetery was a bonus find. Built above ground and with the most vibrant of colours, the graves you pass on a walk through the Chichicastenango cemetery are as beautiful as they are fascinating.
Arranged according to wealth and class, the graves vary from simple crosses above mounds of dirt to massive family crypts. On a walk through the Chichicastenango cemetery, you will notice piles of burnt soot and even smoke rising next to some of the graves. This is because death is celebrated in Guatemala by burning offerings (usually chicken) to pay respect to the dead. On my walk through the Chicicastengro cemetery, I mistook a larger offering for a cremation!
Although this happens year-round, October 31st kicks off Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday filled with fireworks, parades, food, and partying. All of it out of respect and remembrance for those that have passed.
Hard to miss
If you’re heading to Chichicastenango, don’t miss a walk through the Chichicastenango cemetery. From the Iglesia de Santo Tomás Church in the city centre, it is a straight shot 10-minute walk northwest. On nonmarket days, you can easily see the colourful graves on the hillside from downtown.
A Walk Through the Chichicastenango Cemetery Good to Know
Get in: Arrange a transfer through your hotel in Panajachel or brave a Chicken Bus
How Long: Allocate 30 minutes for a walk through the Chichicastenagro Cemetery
Don’t forget: This is a cemetery. Be respectful. Don’t shove your camera in the faces of mourners. If you take a selfie I will find you.
What say you?
Thoughts on this Walk Through the Chichicastenango Cemetery?
Let’s hear it!
My day trip and walk through the Chichicastenango Cemetery was arranged by the Posada de Los Volcanes. As always, the experience, opinions, and picture snapping are my own.