The Tower consists of four floors which can be accessed through a narrow flight of stairs, each floor display different exhibitions of ancient and modern photography, a very interesting visit.
Finally after a hard climb, it´s possible to see the complicated old watchmaking system used in the tower, consisiting of counterweights.
This interesting tower also known as the Torre Centroamericana, is located in the central park of the city, was built between 1914 and 1916, during the administration of President Manuel Estrada Cabrera, to house a military guarnicion. Each corner of the Tower has carved the name of a Central American country (El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.) The tower was severely damaged during the earthquakes of 1917, 1942 and 1974; was restored and declared a national monument in 2001. The building is now open to the public, containing various exhibitions of old historical photographs, as well as current photos of Guatemalan artists. Beautiful views of the city from atop.
The chicken buses are so named due to the animals that can sometimes be brought on board as cargo. These are mainly transformed school buses from the U.S. and Canada and still have the familiar high-backed seat benches with no seat belts that we all grew up riding...well at least those of us who went to public school in the U.S. However the buses have been painted various colors and given names that are painted on the top of the windshield and sometimes along the side of the bus. Names like Carmencita, Roxana, and Sanjuanera. These are one of the main forms of transportation between cities in Guatemala and are very convenient and cheap. That said I don't think I can imagine taking a 4-8 hour trip on one of these but the 20-minute ride to from Pana to Solola was very doable.
There are at least two persons working on each bus: the driver and the person who takes your money. After they've gotten as many passengers on as possible, the bus will set off and the other person will walk down the aisle to collect everyone's fare. If you aren't in a town but need a ride, you can always flag down a bus when it comes by. Simply hold your hand out with the palm facing down and your arm extended out towards the street and wave it up and down. The bus will stop and let you on.
Riding the chicken bus is a great experience. I think we were the only non-locals riding the bus.
During the celebration of Corpus Christi on the second Sunday in June, the town people created tapetes, or carpets, made from grasses, flowers, and other plant materials. Following mass a procession of church leaders was to walk through the streets of the town following the path provided by the tapetes. We were lucky enough to arrive while mass was still going on and witness the creation of some sections of the tapetes. Some sections were very beautiful while others were more plain.
I've read that there is a religous procession of the town church officers (cofradias) on Sundays but I'm not sure if they have tapetes each week. You might ask around in Pana before heading to Solola on Sunday morning if your aim is to see tapetes.
Favorite thing: In America, fireworks go bang. In Solola, they go BOOOOOOMMM!!!! There is a small fireworks factory (I say factory, its more of a mom and pop buiness) that makes some really sweet fireworks, and by American Standards, they are dirt cheap. If you are in town for a few hours, the lady can custom make some that are incredible. They are big enough to: vaporize old shoes, blow up concrete drains, or just make a really big boom that will echo all over the city.