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Antigua and the highlands: Visit remote Todos Santos market

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Visit remote Todos Santos market

In Guatemala’s remote chilly western highlands, nestled shyly in a deep, narrow-sided gully shaded by the forested Cuchumatanes mountains is one of Guatemala’s most striking villages, Todos Santos Cuchumatán. Striking, because its isolation has caused it to retain its traditional way of life, including the men’s wearing of distinctive red and white striped trousers, the retention of its indigenous language, Mam, and its famous horse race. The race takes place in a three day festival at the beginning of November which involves plenty of dancing, marimba music, drinking and brawling.

It’s not an affluent area, but now there are a few language schools there, and the Saturday market is a draw for visitors. It is recommended that you visit that day when their intricate and brightly coloured weavings are on display: you may be tempted in a heady moment to buy the trousers, but may never put them on once you get home!  

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