Friday, March 6, 2009

Todos Santos Chutumatán

After getting back on the road, our first stop was Todos Santos, a small village in the highest mountains in Central America; the Chuchumatanes. The journey was incredible, definitely one of the most awe inspiring and terrifying of the trip so far! We wound our way along treacherously narrow roads in a chicken bus (old US school buses crammed full of people and driven at break-neck speed) through some of the most spectacular scenery in Guatemala. We went up over pine covered ridges before plunging down through valleys where Maya women washed clothes and back up across an amazing plateau that resembled somewhere on another planet! Tiny wooden and adobe houses surrounded by scrubby land and huge succulent plants. I must admit, I had to close my eyes on some of the corners! After careering down through thick cloud we finally arrived in the atmospheric Todos Santos.

The centre of village life is the plaza where, day or night, it's always full of locals simply hanging out. No-where in Central America ever feels particularly rushed, but immediately we noticed the incredibly relaxed atmosphere in Todos Santos.

There's actually very little to do in the village itself except hang out and admire the wonderful traditional clothing worn by almost all in Todos Santos. In most indigenous communities now, men usually wear modern clothes but it's fascinating to see the men here proudly wearing their stripy trousers and bright shirts.

The women's huipiles, the traditional tunics, are also particularly striking here with really rich and bright embroidery. I loved the hats, too!

Of course, the location of Todos Santos is also wonderful. We were actually in the village for less than 24 hours but it made a lasting impression.

Rachel x

1 comment:

Laura B. said...

looks wonderful! I can't wait to go. Hopefully my ride won't be as terrifying, but i'm not holding my breath...