by mountains reaching up to 2500 meters in height, San Miguel
Totonicap½n is one of the most beautiful cities of Guatemala.
The predominantly Maya-K'iche' community is an artistic and
agricultural center, offering travellers the opportunity to
visit a community rich in the culture and tradition of both
old and new Guatemala, away from the traditional tourist areas.
San Miguel Totonicapán are well-known for their textiles,
ceramics, bent-wood boxes, baskets, colorful masks and costumes
(used in traditional dances), plus a variety of tin, wood,
and leather products.
Totonicapán is home to many traditional music groups.
Some of the traditional instruments they use are the marimba,
traditional drum, and the chirimía (a traditional reed
flute). There are many opportunities throughout the year to
hear these groups play in the city and surrounding areas.
and colonial in origin, the different traditional dances incorporate
colorful masks, costumes, and music into the storytelling
of either Mayan history or myths. Normally performed during
festivals or on special occasions, some of the most common
dances in San Miguel Totonicap½n are the Dance of the Xacalcojes,
the Dance of the Pascarines, the Dance of the Monkeys, the
Dance of the Deer, the Dance of the Conquest, the Dance of
the Cowboys, and the Dance of the Mexicans.
La Casa de
la Cultura in San Miguel Totonicapán offers visitors
educational and cultural tours of San Miguel Totonicap½n and
its surrounding areas. A typical itinerary is:
with coffee and an audiovisual presentation on the cultural
history of the area. Visit to the Nim½ K'iche' Morerāa
(a workshop that makes masks and costumes for the traditional
dances), with an explanation on how the costumes and masks
are made, and for what dances they are used for.
featuring several musical groups that use traditional
instruments, followed by a discussion of the instruments
and the significance of the music.
different artisan workshops in the city, with demonstrations
on how the products are made.
lunch prepared and served in a private home followed by
a tour of the city. Tour includes a visit to a church,
convent, municipal theater, cemetery, and city market.
Break for hot chocolate in a popular bakery after tour.
made of nances (a tropical fruit) and cherries.
beef and cabbage soup)
Literally meaning "made by everyone," all the women
in the community make this soup on special occasions, such
as weddings. It is cooked in a large ceramic pot and served
with corn tamalitos.
Chicken cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic,
onion, and spices, served with rice and potatoes.
Fresh fruit of the season cooked in its own juices (usually
peaches, apples, cherries, or pears).
Hot drink made of ground corn with barley, cinnamon and brown
Activities in San Miguel Totonicapán
- Bed and
breakfast in a private home.
hikes to rural communities to see panoramic views of the
area, Mayan altars (with permission), and traditional hot
of traditional indigenous dances.
Maya K'iche' Casa de la Cultura Totonicapense
Carlos Humberto Molina
should be made 2 weeks in advance.
- Tours offered
for groups of 4 to 20 people
reserve one at least one week in advance
- Tours offered
per person for complete day program (in US dollars):
Cost per person for a rural walk in the San Miguel Totonicap½n
area (including lunch and use of local guide). Tour includes
walk to villages around San Miguel Totonicap½n to visit different
community development projects, Mayan holy places (with permission),
artisan workshops, and schools.
AVENTURA MAYA K'ICHE'
Cultura y Turismo Totonicapán,
Guatemala Telefax: (502) 7661575