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Visiting Sololá

Inside the small museum

Inside the small museum

I have been to Sololá a few times. Ana wanted to visit so we did. Here are some thoughts from that trip. There is clearly a lot more to Sololá but this is a start.

First, there was no agenda. For most, Sololá is just a place to pass through on your way to and from Pana. If there is one thing that makes it stand out from Pana it is its total lack of Gringos. It’s not Gringo-hostile, just not a travel destination.

If you take the bus from Pana to Sololá (and just Sololá meaning not a bus that continues on to Los Encuentros) the end of line is on the north east corner of the central park. For reference, the bus back to Pana leaves from the opposite side of the park. Buses that continue on turn right at the corner rather cross the intersection to unload across from the park. I say this mainly so this will all make sense if you have just passed through the town. This street heads north. The one on the other side of the park is the main road heading south into town.

As is to be expected, you will find banks and retail businesses along these streets. We walked up one street until we were tired of walking up hill, then walked down a side street one block to the other main street and headed back toward the park. We then visited a small museum, hung out in the park and then took the bus back to Pana.

Sololá clearly has more focus on agriculture and you will find an assortment of stores supporting those activities along with the expected hardware stores, pharmacies and such. We went into a shoe store (new and used) and found the first advantage over Pana. I found a really nice pair of suede shoes in a size much too big for non-Gringos for Q80. On the way back toward the park Ana bought a cactus for Q15 in a vivero.

Right near the park are government buildings. The indigenous city hall is across the street from the Spanish one. We visited Museo Diego Hernandez Xajil. Small but for Q2, it’s hard to argue with the price. Ana started talking to a local. He told her that none of the records there are in Spanish. I assume that means they could be in more than one Maya dialect.

Park complete with mini-TukTuk rental

Park complete with mini-TukTuk rental

She also asked him about his native clothing. While he agreed that the young were less likely to be using it, he said part of the issue was the price. He priced out the various pieces he was wearing and the total cost came to about Q2000. Asked how durable it was, he told us what what he was wearing was eight years old. It clearly looked used but I would say it certainly qualifies as durable.

The park is clean and active but not crowded. The little girl in the mini-TukTuk is named Ana and it is her brother pushing. Their parents are the couple sitting on the bench at the right. Bottom line was great weather, peaceful park and friendly people. We hung out there for about half an hour before walking to the edge of the park, down the stairs and to a bus that was waiting. About 15 minutes and Q3 later we were in Pana.

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