After the basilica and museum , head to the market, downhill at the left (east) side of the plaza. Look over the souvenirs: small sombreros, flowers, and baskets all fashioned of rubbery chicle, the basis of chewing gum. If you see a bottle filled with a yellow-orange liquid, it’s probably rompope (rohm-POH-pay), eggnog laced with tequila.
When you feel like getting away from the crowd, climb Loma Cristo Rey (Hill of Christ the King), behind and to the left of the church, for some fresh air and panoramic views of the town, valley, and mountains. Back by the plaza, let the sweet perfume of guava fruit lead you to a rollo (ROH-yoh) factory. In front of the church, cross Independencia and head left a half block. Before the corner you’ll find a shop where machines crush, heat, and stir guava pulp until it thickens like candy, which is then sold in rollos (rolls).
Most days the Talpa plaza atmosphere is friendly and pleasantly uncrowded. The action heats up considerably during the tianguis (tee-AHN-geese) every other Saturday, when a raft of vendors comes into town to set up their awnings and try to hawk everything from pirated tapes and machetes to snake oil and saucepans. The Talpa hubbub boils over during four big local fiestas —February 2, March 10–19, May 10–12, and September 10–19—when the fortunate jam hotels or sleep in tents, while everyone else makes do with the sidewalks.