Heading east from Chiantla  on the paved road toward Sacapulas , you’ll pass this small agricultural town at the base of the Cuchumatanes. The village is the product of a merger of two distinct groups of people, the Chalchitek and Awakatek, into a single community by Dominican friars during colonial times. Today, they still speak separate languages.
Gold and silver were mined here during colonial days, though nowadays its economic activities are centered around the production of abundant crops, most notably garlic. The weekly market is held on Sunday, with traders arriving and setting up shop on Saturday afternoon. The town’s other claim to fame is the nacimiento (source) of the Río San Juan, which bubbles up from the underbelly of a rocky hillside about 20 minutes’ walk outside of town.
For accommodations and food, your best bet is two blocks north of the plaza at Hotel y Restaurante San Juan (tel. 7766-0110, $7–15 d), with clean rooms with or without private bathroom.