Friday is market day in Solola. It is a colorful occasion when the city's residents gather to sell their wares and socialize. Solola is the capital of the department of Solola, which is an area that includes 19 municipalities situated around Guatemala's Lake Atitlan. The majority of the city's inhabitants are Cakchiquel Indians, who proudly retain their heritage. It is one of the few places in Guatemala where both men and women may be seen wearing traditional Mayan dress.

Women carry their wares to market in traditional Mayan market baskets. Among the items they sell are vegetables from their gardens, tortillas, textiles and chickens.

Farming is a primary occupation in the area. Corn, black beans, broad beans, squash, pumpkins and onions are cultivated. The majority of the farms are typically less than 1.7 acres and are located on marginal land that uses the area's sloping terrain in a system of terraces and irrigation.

Weaving is also a major source of income. The women weave to provide clothes for their families and to sell at market. The women weave on backstrap looms and make fabric for shirts, trousers, huipils (loose brocaded blouses worn by Mayan women in Mexico and Central America), tzutes (multi-purpose textiles), caps for babies and sashes. The fabric for skirts is made by men on treadle looms. Red is a predominate color in the women's huipil. A design is often woven into the fabric using double-faced brocading, which gives the appearance of "embroidery." Hand embroidery may also be added. Women often wear ribbons in their hair or may use a small tzute to shade their face from the sun.


At an altitude of 5,238 feet, nestled beside beautiful Lake Atitlan in a volcanic archipelago, 800-year-old Panjachel is surrounded by three majestic volcanoes. These geological monolithics – named Toliman, Atitlan and San Pedro- forge an awe-inspiring presence. Panajachel’s highly scenic setting, perpetual spring-like climate and vibrant Caqchikel Mayan population has made it a major Central American tourist attraction as "the jewel of the highlands.”

With a population of 14,000, Panajachel is the largest of about a dozen indigenous villages scattered around Lake Atitlan. "Atitlan" is a Mayan word that translates as "the place where the rainbow gets its colors."

During the period of the Spanish conquest of Guatemala, the shores of the lake were the scene of a great battle in which the Spanish and their Cakchiquel allies defeated the Tzutuhils. The Spanish established a church and monastery in Panajachel and used the town as a center for converting the Indians of the region to the Catholic faith. The original facade of the church stills stands, and is a classic example of the colonial style in Guatemala.

The Mayan culture, which still thrives In this highlands city, makes it one of the most exotic destinations in the world. The Mayans are known for being friendly, funny, welcoming of strangers, and shy.

Panajachel provides many interesting sights, sounds, and smells. There are numerous hotels, restaurants, and nightspots. During the day visitors can explore the surrounding villages, enjoy the breathtaking, ever-changing views of the volcanoes that surround Lake Atitlan, or visit its busy market street.




Antigua Guatemala may be
the most outstanding and best preserved colonial city in Spanish America. It draws tourists from around the world. Its Spanish Colonial charm permeates its houses, churches, squares, parks and ruins, and influences its traditions and folklore as well.

Antigua is situated in a highland valley, backdropped by the spectacular Agua Volcano. Nearby are two other volcanoes Acatenango and the always smoking, sometimes erupting, Fuego.

With a temperate climate and friendly inhabitants, Antigua provides a warm welcome to visitors. The city's amenities include excellent hotels and restaurants - which serve traditional and international cuisine, plus banks, stores, Internet cafés, travel agencies, Spanish-language schools and art galleries. Antigua's more than 50 Spanish-language schools draw students from all around the world.

Antigua is situated in a highland valley, backdropped by the spectacular Agua Volcano. Nearby are two other volcanoes Acatenango and the always smoking, sometimes erupting, Fuego. Neighboring towns and villages include Ciudad Vieja, Jocotenango, San Juan El Obispo, Santa María de Jesús, San Bartolomé Milpas Altas, Santa Catalina and Barahona.

Antigua is noted for its varied crafts, such as: terracotta, ceramics, wrought iron, silver and jade jewelry, wooden sculptures, carved colonial-style furniture, traditional costumes and weavings, figured stone, brass, jarcia, and traditional toys. Its wide variety of traditional handmade products carries on the traditions of generations of its artisans.

A major event held in Antigua every July 25th is a festival which celebrates the town's saint -Santiago or St James, who was the Patron saint of the conquistadors.



Cover | Contents | Archive | Contact