|Todos Santos is in the valley below|
First, we had to get there from Chiapas. That involved traveling by bus and van to La Mesilla, a Guatemalan border town, and then on to Huehuetenango, where we spent our first night. The next morning, from our hotel in Huehue we had to make our way across town to a place where small buses depart a couple of times a day for Todos Santos.
|Boarding a bus from San Cristobal to Comitan (This and a small bus to Todos Santos would be the last modern buses we would ride. Otherise, it was chicken buses everywhere.) Right, in the Guatemalan border town of La Mesilla|
|Waiting a couple of hours in Huehuetenango for the next bus to Todos Santos|
We arrived in Todos Santos in mid-afternoon and chose a room at Casa Familiar, upstairs over a co-operative crafts shop. It was a delightful place to stay. The staff of both the shop and the hotel were super-friendly Mayan women. The photo below right is from the balcony outside our room.
|The balcony outside our room.|
On our first full day in Todos Santos, we set out in the morning for a long walk into the surrounding countryside. The sun was bright, the air bracing, and the views spectacular.
Todos Santos is one of the few villages in Guatemala where men as well as women still routinely dress in traditional garments. The man above is wearing the straw hat with purple ribbons around the band, striped shirt with embroidered collar, and red striped pants that are unique to Todos Santos.
On our second day, we decided to hike with a guide to the top of El Torre, a nearby mountain that is the highest non-volcanic peak in Central America, about 12,500 feet. Below, Barbara is with Rigoberto Pablo Cruz, our guide. The problem was weather. Drizzle and fog nearly the entire time. Although there were a few glimpses of what could have been beautiful views, it was a fairly disappointing hike.
|On the way down from the summit. At the top, we hadn't seen a thing.|
The damp, chilly weather inspired Barbara to buy a hat and a warm poncho at the women's co-op below our room. The third morning, our last in Todos Santos, the weekly market was set up in the streets. Here are a few photos taken on market day:
|In Todos Santos the same colorful hats are worn by both men and women.|
The fact that even boys, teenagers and young men are wearing traditional garments suggests that a distinctive culture is alive and well in Todos Santos.
In early afternoon, we boarded a bus and reluctantly left Todos Santos for Quetzaltenango, also called Xela.