A good paved road winds northeast through piney slopes to Chajul, an impoverished but intensely traditional Ixil village, where hundreds-of-years-old customs are still widely practiced. Women stroll arm-in-arm wearing maroon cortes (wraparound skirts), earrings made from silver coins, and bright blue or purple huipiles woven with geometric patterns. Along the dirt streets, adobe structures with tile roofs propped up by carved wooden pillars are interspersed with patches of maize and squash. Tuesday and Friday are market days.
Chajul was the base for one of the main guerrilla groups during the civil war, and was consequently the site of many bloody reprisals by the army against the Ixil people. More than two decades later, the scars of the conflict still run deep.
Chajul has a notable church famous for one of the biggest pilgrimages in Guatemala during Lent. The town is also known for its woven grass baskets, which make great souvenirs.