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Comalapa Market & Paintings Tour

Travel through the stunning scenery of the highlands passing local communities farming their land using traditional methods, for about an hour, before reaching San Juan Comalapa.

Upon arrival your guide takes you on a tour of the town and to explore the wonderful and authentic market, which is less visited by foreign visitors than others in the region so is a fabulous opportunity to get an insight into the real lives of the local highlanders. The best days to visit are Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays when the market is in full swing and local people gather in the town centre in a hive of hustle and bustle to buy and sell items including flowers, vegetables, fruit, household goods and clothes.

As with most areas in Guatemala local women specialise in weaving and their work will undoubtedly be on display in the market but the town is also very well known for its primitive folk paintings which is considered men's work. Local artists display their work in household galleries and they will open their doors for visitors to see their varied and colourful artwork.

You cannot fail to see the largest and most notable example of San Juan Comalapa's artwork upon arrival in the town as you drive past the colourful cemetery which has a mural painted by local artists running along its outer wall. The mural depicts major events in the history of Guatemala including the Maya creation story, the Spanish conquest and more recently Guatemala's civil war. This was painted by a collaboration of local artists but the town really gained its reputation by the work of Andrés Curuchich who rose to fame for his paintings depicting local village life and whose work has been displayed in galleries as far away as New York.

San Juan Comalapa is also known for its many Panaderias or bakeries that bake biscuits used in local celebrations all over Guatemala and your guide will be able to organise for you to visit a local family so that you can see how the biscuits (roscas) are made and try them for yourselves.

You also have the chance to visit the former house of Rafael Alvarez Ovalle, one of Guatemala's most famous musicians, which is now a small museum dedicated to the composer who created the national anthem.

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Audley Travel specialist Tom

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