Chichi Cemetery

Chichi Cemetery, Chichicastenango

Chichi Cemetery
4.5
About
All the tombs are above ground at this cemetery which marks graves in a variety of ways, some with brightly colored miniature churches and others as mounds with name-bearing crosses or piles of fire-blackened rocks.
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4.5
228 reviews
Excellent
118
Very good
86
Average
20
Poor
3
Terrible
1

Luis F
Guatemala City, Guatemala127 contributions
Time well invested
Dec 2020
Colorful, and mysterious. Be sure to notice the coffin style graves, and to visit Ildefonso Rossbachs mausoleum. Indigenous ceremonies happen at the cemetery.
Written 29 December 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

maritimeexplorer
Nova Scotia, Canada3,432 contributions
A Must Visit in Chichi
Feb 2020
While most tourists come to Chichicastenango for the market, the cemetery should also be on the menu for visitors as well. It is one of the most colourful and interesting I have visited anywhere in Latin America. I first spotted it from the grounds of the Mayan Inn and knew I had to see it up close.

My first question upon arriving at the cemetery and seeingthe huge mausoleums was, "How can they afford this?". After all Guatemala is a poor country and some of these tombs are as big as small houses. The answer apparently lies in the combination of Mayan and Christian beliefs. The Mayans very much believe in the practice of honouring the dead, in fact, failure to do so can lead to the soul being trapped between life and death and no one wants that.

Every year just before the Day of the Dead ceremonies at the beginning of November, the families repaint the graves, whether they be mausoleums or simple crosses. The colours do have a meaning as well. That is why everything looks so bright and fresh and some of the mausoleums are works of art in themselves.
Others are dedicated specifically to one individual and reflect that person's overriding passion in life. In one case, car racing apparently as there was a miniature race track incorporated into the structure.

Obviously not every person in Chichicastenango has the means to afford a grand mausoleum, but the simple painted crosses in their varying colours are almost as interesting and photogenic.

What I did not take a picture of in the Chichicastenango cemetery was the most interesting thing we saw there. At the highest point in the cemetery there is a flat covered concrete floor which is there specifically for sacrifices. Now the word 'sacrifice' has many connotations and the pre-Columbian Mayans practiced many of them including human sacrifice. Post conquest, the sacrifices were toned down, but they have continued over the years with the addition of a few Catholic additions, especially candles.

There was a family who had gathered for a sacrifice which was a circular collection of offerings including modern Mayan essentials - food, alcohol and tobacco. Over the next few days we would see a number of Mayan sacrifices and all would involves these three elements. Along with dozens of candles, all this is lit on fire and prayers made while the sacrifice burns. It is a sacred moment for the family and not one that should be photographed without permission which the family was not giving. If we were feeling like strangers when we set out for the cemetery, watching this ceremony cemented the feeling.

Definitely do not miss this place if you find yourself in Chichicastenango.
Written 25 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

guatemejor
Tikal National Park, Guatemala64 contributions
Cementerio de Chichi
Mar 2020
For the people that like to see cementeries in this countries, CHchi is a amazing for the surprises you will find wlile you visit, because you will find Sajurines or persons that are spiritual guides for the comunities,or priest that look affter their people in their villages,and keep the well bieng and spiritual protection for every boddy. Could be that each time you go you will find different ceremonies remember each day of the MAYA MONTH IS DIFFERENT
Written 24 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

colonial
County Galway, Ireland160 contributions
Most whimsical Cemetery
Jan 2020
Not a cemetery chaser and did not walk the trail to look at the tombs but I saw this cemetery fromone of the many hills of chichicastenango and it is so pretty and cheery compared to European and American cemeteries that I have to say it is THE BEST cemetery I have ever seen. The colors are magnificent and representative of what I think of the next life being. I believe we go with peace and this certainly is upbeat so I have to say though I do not hang out in cemeteries like some people who actually went and visited , this is a wonderful place compared to the macabre cemeteries everywhere in Europe -except Romanias Satu Mare and the States. Definitely worth a look form the hill if not a visit-lol!
Written 1 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Casa Diego Ignacio
Chichicastenango, Guatemala19 contributions
Mayan Massage
Jan 2020
An amazing experience where you can discover the mayan healing and experience it in Chichicastenango
Written 30 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Rebecca H
593 contributions
Worth a detour from the market!
Dec 2019 • Solo
If you are visiting the market on Thursday or Sunday, walk down the hill and up to the town’s cemetery.....fascinating place. Although the area is full of litter, walk around the area to take in the atmosphere of this colorful unusual site. We explored the cemetery on a rainy day but several “Wise Men” were performing the traditional Mayan ceremonies of burning candles, chocolate and eggs and reciting words all whilst burning incense and tending to the fires. Some of the grave sites are very elaborate while others are simple and just marked with a colorful cross. My guide explained to me the practice of removing the coffins from some of the burial sites and subsequently placing the remains in a bag so that another deceased family member in a coffin can be placed in the space in conjunction with the previously removed remains.
Written 20 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

GTravellerG80210
Denver, CO512 contributions
Historic Cemetary
Oct 2019
While I had seen the cemetery from a distance in previous visits, our mission group came here early on Sunday morning. Colorful tombs and the crosses of the less wealthy provide a clue to the diversity in income of Chichicastenango. A youth found our group in short order and gave a very good explanation of the cemetery. He did not ask to be paid, but I quietly gave him 10 quetzales (about $1.40) for his kindness. I hope that my photographs do justice.
Written 6 November 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

avaab
Oslo, Norway16 contributions
Facinating place, though sadly full of litter
Jul 2019 • Family
A very facinating place, colorful and with a mix between the Chatholic and the Mayan. Absolute worth a visit, and maybe you can respectfully experience a Mayan seremony.

Though is it a very sad thing to experience that the littering of the roads and public areal outside the city centres also is found here in this cementary. The litter is floating around. First should the municipality make sure it is clean, in respect of the dead and the families. Secondly, of course, should the public take responsibility and stop littering.
Tha facinating contrast is that every city and town I have visited have clean streets and public places.
Written 14 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Rufli K
London, UK488 contributions
If it were maintained, it could be an attraction.
Apr 2019 • Couples
This is for sure a very unusual cemetary as found in many cities in Guatemala. Colorful and intriging graves. Unfortunately the cemetary as well as the graves are totally dilapidated and the places has an eerie feel to it. As there are no people there I would not visit this place without a guide or guard.
Written 26 May 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

math1482
Dordrecht, The Netherlands253 contributions
Colorful, Catholic with Mayan influence
Apr 2019 • Couples
After leaving the hubbub of the Mercado and ear-shattering noises of Easter festivities downtown, it was a short walk to the cemetery situated on a hill. Not a lot of people here, so it was a nice little walk along the colorful graves. In the middle there is a spot where locals perform there rituals for the dead under a roof, the whole place is blackened by all the burnt incense and pine needles that cover the graves. A nice and quiet spot for one who wishes to escape the busy marketplace
Written 24 May 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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