San Juan Cotzal Shopping
Market Day is Saturday in SJC in the Central Plaza. Negotiate everything but do not involve yourself unless you really want to buy the item.
What to buy: While this is not as big a thing as the Market Days in Nebaj or Chichicastanango you will have an opportunity to buy some beautiful woven goods at very reasonable prices.
What to pay: Ask first and the price they give you will be about 4x what you actually will need to spend.
Negotiate any purchase from a street vendor. The only items I do not negotiate are food items and beverages...they generally have a fixed price.
San Juan Cotzal Local Customs
When I becken someone to come over to my location I would wave them over with my hand upright and my palm toward my self. Apparently this gesture is one that you would use in Guatemala to solicit a prostitute! The correct way to beckon someone toward you is to motion with the hand down and palm toward you. Maria is one of the true saints of the...more
When I want to indicate the location of something, I will point with my idex finger. However, in this area the natives indicate direction by pointing with their chins! "It's over there" they will say as they jut their chin out in the direction of the place you have asked about.more
Gestures and body language vary throughout the world and this place is no exception. The indigenous people here are Ixil, descendents of the Mayas. They may not look you in the eye when you talk to them. They believe that there are certain powers that one has in their eyes and they don't want you to take their power away so they don't look at...more
San Juan Cotzal Warnings and Dangers
San Juan Cotzal is right in area of the mass genocide that was committed on the indigenous people of Guatemala during the civil war that began in 1960 and ended in 1996. Many of the army members and the members of the civil patrols that committed these atrocities have just melted back into the communities with impunity. So therefore, I warn you that you should always travel in groups of three or more and never, never, never be out at night. The National Civil Police have a station in SJC and at the time of my last visit there was still no phone service to the community....communication to the outside world was conducted on radio. Apparently now there is cell phone service in SJC. AGROS has sent 12-15 teams a year to the area for several years and we have had no serious problems because we act with caution.,