Guatemala doesn’t seem to have many  Asian tourists yet, so I got a lot of attention wherever I went. When I walked around the streets, I found most people stopped  to look at me! Especially when I was browsing the local market in Coban, I heard a Mayan lady, holding her little baby on her chest, was educating her baby by pointing me “A la Chino!” haha!  Was I annoyed? Never! Every mom wants her child to grow up to be an intelligent person. : )

Here are the markets that I visited and shopped and some good scenery photos.

at-chichimarket If I had more crowded eyebrows, do we look a little alike, right?  : )  I bought some dried fresh oregano and  colorful beans from her in Chichicastenango market. When I looked back after taking this photo, she was laughing quietly covering her face with both hands. She was shy! I wished we had exchanged our clothes for fun, but gave up because we could not understand each other’s language. How could it be possible to explain my suggestion with only body language!

chichimarketChichicastenango Market (the oldest and biggest market in Central America)

chickennetIt’s not his hat but a large basket with a few live chickens to be sold!

crabsFreeze! You are under arrest! : )

chickenplaceMayan Waitresses served fried chicken. It was fantastic taste!  (Chichicastenango Market)


chiliballsa kind of chili pepper. It was super spicy. Anybody knows the name of this chili pepper?

(one of my blog readers Hanna gave me the answer. Those little bitty spicy chilies are called chiltepe, or chile tepin. In Texas, they’re also known as “bird’s eye peppers”. Tepins are my favorite because of their heat. I miss them!”

Thank you Hanna! : )

antiguamarketOpen aired market , Antigua

antiguamarket1Market, Antigua

catfishhoho, check the mischievous looking catfish! One day I bought all these ingredients to throw a party for my fellow backpackers. The hostel had a kitchen on the rooftop, so I could cook this. I made rice and stir-fried fish and vegetables. The red shrimp behind the fish is very interesting because it is fermented and salty! It reminded me of Korean saewoojeot (fermented salted shrimp). The difference is that Korean saewoojeot contains some liquid, and tiny shrimp are used to make it, but Guatemalan salted shrimp are large and they have no liquid. The seller treated his shrimp like gold! When he weighed it using his small hand scale, his hands were shaking!  : )

I minced this shrimp to salt the dish. Several lucky backpackers who tasted my food for free were very surprised to see all these ingredients I bought. : ) They enjoyed the food and one of the guys said, “oh, it’s been a long time to have this kind of homemade food!”

vegetablesIboughtI was happy to taste their tomatoes, garlic, potato, squash, and green onions.

christicancame-to-mayanThis intersting painting hung on the wall of Elsabor del Tempo is showing the advent of Christianity to Mayans

flowersellerBeautiful fresh flowers!

drugsellerIn the corner of Chichicastenango market, this man was surrounded by many people. Check the huge snake coiled around his left hand. He sometimes put the snake under his shirt so that the snake could crawl all over his upper body! Soon he took out a huge eyeball (I guess it’s a cow’s eyeball) from his bag and cut the edge of the eyeball with his razor a little by little while he kept speaking! Everybody looked so nervous!

I watched him about 30 minutes with those people. He eventually opened another bag and took out small bottles filled with yellowish liquid to sell!   He used the poor snake, the huge eyeball, and the razor as tools to stop the people going away!

I felt sorry for the snake!  There was no way to escape from him!

garlicsellerThis man was selling his garlic in an interesting way! Garlic necklaces! I bought 1 string !

marketgirlThis cute girl wearing traditional Mayan clothing was sitting next to her mom.

marketrestaurantA cheap restaurant in the market. I had some chicken, rice, and black bean paste here.

xmastreeThe beer company Gallo sponsors Christmas trees all over Guatemala. I saw the same kind of Christmas tree in Antigua and Coban.

puppysellerThey sell these puppies in the market at super cheap price! I saw a man buying 2 puppies for US $ 20!

sexycanWhat a sexy can of sardines it is!

dollsellerThis girl was selling these dolls made with corn husks and dried flowers in Tikal.

AntiguaMiddle of town, Antigua

antiguaroadAll the roads in Antigua are made of cobblestones. The man riding the bike looks ok in this photo, but actually he was barely managing to keep going forward. It was funny to watch he was almost falling off the bike!

cobanA steep road in Coban.

from-the-hostel from the rooftop of my hostel in Antigua.

corntrreesA main food source, corn is everywhere in Guatemala

public-busLocal buses, Antigua.

sanpedro1This area is packed with restaurants, bars, Spanish language schools. English signs! (San Pedro)

sanpedrochurchA church on the hill in San Pedro

sanpedro2San Pedro.

sanpedrohillWalking up this road is like hiking a mountain!

sanpedrochildrenSome children are playing basket ball, the girls are still wearing their traditional long skirts!

bookstoreatsanpedroA used book store in San Pedro. Some backpackers buy books to read to kill time

algaeAtitlan lake has problem with algae these days. The man in the boat was getting rid of algae.

muralBeautiful mural on the wall in San Pedro.

backpackersI took this photo from the shuttle bus when I went to Semuc Champey. These backpackers were also on the way to Semuc Champey by a truck.

fromcaveAt the entrance of the Cave in Lanquin.

ruinTemple V, the second tallest pyramid is 58 m high. It was built around AD 600. I climbed up the top using the ladder. The view from the top was awesome! (Tikal National Park)



ruin2Temple  I (Temple of the Grand Jaguar) was built to honor and bury King Moon Double Comb by his son who succeeded to the throne in 734.

internetcafeInternet cafe!

narrowalleyI had to go through this narrow alley way so many times every day during my stay in San Pedro!

snakeonthehighwayI took this photo from a local bus on the way to go to Coban from Frores. The bus suddenly slowed down so as not to run over this huge snake.

wildturkeyWild turkeys in Tikal National Park are not afraid of humans! : )

semucsignSemuc Champey

semuc1Semuc Champey

semuc2Semuc Champey

semuc3Semuc Champey

thatchedroofhouseThatched roof house in country side, clothes on the cloth lines, peaceful scene!


  1. Dasia Guateamala joined 4/18 & has 1 comment

    You were here! I’m Guatemalan and I hope you come back some day, there are many wonderfull places to visit!
    If this helps, there are some Korean Markets in Guatemala city zona 7.

    Those sexy can of sardines are pretty commun haha.
    Love you!

  2. tooki Zurich, Switzerland joined 4/10 & has 6 comments

    The little chiles are indeed called “chiltepes”. I was born in Guatemala and when I was 2 years old, I grabbed some chiltepes on a bush and then touched… some sensitive areas. I was screaming for an hour, apparently!

    I really need to go back and visit!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      That’s right. Not long after I posted this blog, Hanna let me know, so I posted it. Thank you, tooki! I miss Antigua, Guatemala now!
      “a kind of chili pepper. It was super spicy. Anybody knows the name of this chili pepper?

      (one of my blog readers Hanna gave me the answer. “Those little bitty spicy chilies are called chiltepe, or chile tepin. In Texas, they’re also known as “bird’s eye peppers”. Tepins are my favorite because of their heat. I miss them!”

      Thank you Hanna! : )”

  3. I want to go ! it looks like so much fun :D
    when i saw the pictures of the street markets u took it reminded me of when i went to sao paulo, brazil (i miss it).
    i want to go to semuc champey now-its so beautiful (nice place to relax)

  4. ylre joined 4/09 & has 9 comments

    Interesting shots specially the ones in San Pedro.Just the everyday local scenes gives a glimpse of the place and not only the typical “beautiful” scenery.

  5. that happened to me a lot when i went to panama. i’m the type of person who hates it when people stare at me so i was like “please stop staring!” ( myself ^^)

    don’t go to panama. there’s no sight seeing. haha.

  6. What beautiful photos! I would love to go there someday. You have such a blessed life.

  7. I discovered your website to learn how to make Korean food, I found the videos really helpful. I lives in Guatemala for 2 months and seeing your photos brought back wonderful memories. I hope you are having fun.


  8. Really nice pictures. I am going to Guatemala in a couple of days with my wife and am super excited now. Is there really an algae problem at Lake Atitlan ?

  9. Deborah Toronto, ON joined 4/09 & has 47 comments

    those are awesome photos. you take very good photos! i wish i could take a trip like that somewhere too!

  10. Sara Yeongwol, Korea joined 9/08 & has 6 comments

    Sounds like such a wonderful trip. I wish I could have been there with you. Maybe some day. What an adventure!

  11. Beautiful photos!
    It looks like you had an amazing trip, Maangchi. Did you learn to cook any Guatemalan recipes?

  12. Violin123& has 10 comments

    Amazing pictures!! Did you jump into that Semuc Champey? The water looks so clear.

  13. Thanks for sharing these photos! I was backpacking in Guatemala for two weeks last Xmas and new year. These photos surely bring back some fond memories. I love the country~

    Here are my albums of the trip.

    Enjoy~ We could have met up there :) Keep up the good work. I love your recipes and videos~

  14. That is some seriously amazing scenery in Semuc Champey!

  15. Those little bitty spicy chilies are called chiltepe, or chile tepin. In Texas, they’re also known as “bird’s eye peppers”.

    Tepins are my favorite because of their heat. I miss them!

    Thank you for the lovely pictures…it seems like you had a great trip!

  16. Wow looks so nice! I love scenic streets. They make me want to blurt out Spanish phrases! haha. You say you traveled with a bunch of backpackers. How did you get or find such a group to go backpacking like that? I’d like to go backpacking like that – only need few sets of clothes, money, and bare essentials. You had so many interesting experiences~ I envy you soo much! :p You should do this kind of trip at least once a year to refresh from all your cooking videos!! :) Thanks for sharing Maangchi~ ^_^

  17. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09

    Beautifull and interesting pictures, i knew zilch about Guatemala. It looks so green and tropical.

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