Todos Santos Cuchumatán is a traditional mountain village situated 9,000 feet above sea level in the Cuchumatán Mountains of Guatemala. The majority of Todos Santos Cuchumatán’s villagers are indigenous Mayan. Today, the village is the most visited of the mountain villages. It is known for being a great place to learn about the Todos Santos culture and traditions, which date back thousands of years but still remain well-preserved. Many of the villagers still wear traditional dresses called Tipicos and continue to live like their ancestors did. Stroll around the village and not only will you see men wearing their distinctive red pants, striped shirts with embroidered collars and the women wearing their stunning red and pink huipiles with indigo skirts, but you’ll also hear the rhythms of marimba music being played off the unusual instruments of the street performers.
Todos Santos Cuchumatán attracts many visitors on market days. Every Thursday and Saturday, the stands and stalls are set up, selling textile goods and foods. Many groups from Quezaltenango, Antigua, and other parts of the mountains come to sell or buy these goods.
The archaeological ruins of the ancient ceremonial center of Tuj Qman Txun Mayans are also located near Todos Santos. Getting to this site requires an uphill trek that takes about 10 minutes but is well worth it.
Todos Santos Cuchumatán also has some great hiking areas like in the mountains of Torre and the trails lead to various quaint villages like San Juan Atitán. These trails lead to some incredible panoramic views of Guatemala and Mexico, including some of Guatemala’s southern volcanoes.
Many tourists also enjoy sampling the chuj bath, one of the unique pleasurable features of Todos Santos. Most of the village homes on the outside have low, brick structures with rock piles that are smoked underneath by wood fires. Heated water fills the structure to create a soothing sauna experience.
The food in Todos Santos Cuchumatán is very traditional, featuring staples like chicken, beans, rice, bread and vegetables. There are a few western eateries in town that serve sandwiches and pizza.
The Festival de Todos Santos is celebrated by the villagers during the last two weeks of October. The celebration features the famous bareback horse race, a competition in which competitors ride bareback from one end to the other, taking a drink at each stop and continuing until all but one person has not fallen off of his or her horse.