Solola Space Cowboy Traditional Clothing

5 ‘Space Cowboy’ Things to do in Solola, Guatemala

In Guatemala, Traditional Villages & Markets by Erik @ DIY Travel HQ2 Comments

Solola is home to ‘Space Cowboys’, one of a few Guatemalan villages where men still wear traditional clothing. Find out why it’s #1 on our list of things to do in Solola.  

For us the main reason to visit Solola, Guatemala was to see out-of-this-world men wearing their ‘space cowboy’ traditional clothing.

We heard their outfits described this way, and couldn’t think of a better nomenclature.

Find more inspiration in one of the Guatemala guide books below!
Solola Men & Women in Traditional Clothing
Solola locals make any picture pop.

Their attire is a mix of western cuts mixed with colorful Maya weaving for both the shirt and pants. They also wear a wool wrap (rodillera) around their waist, and a cowboy hat.

The space aspect comes from the eccentric mix-match of colors, and embroidered bird between their shoulder blades.

This makes Solola one of the best places to visit in Guatemala for unique traditional clothing.

Solola Traditional Clothing Market
Dare we say…bad ass?

If you want to see locals dressed in their finest traditional clothing, then you need to visit during their weekly market day.

Afterwards, check out their main plaza and church. There aren’t that many things to do in Solola but it’s a true Guatemalan village.

Also don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Guatemala.

Solola Man in Traditional Clothing Buying Vegetables
The best time to see space cowboys patrolling the streets is at the Solola, Guatemala Friday weekly market.

Things to do in Solola, Guatemala

1. Weekly Friday Market at Central de Mayoreo

Although there is a covered market every day, Solola overflows with Guatemalans from the surrounding villages on Friday.

People come to buy and sell as the streets are overtaken with vendors. Compared to nearby Panajachel, this is a strictly local affair.

Very few tourists make the short journey here by ‘chicken’ bus.

Solola Market Overflowing to Streets
Being filled to capacity doesn’t stop these vendors from taking over the streets.

The covered section is comprised of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, pots and pans, and packaged food.

There is also a whole ‘avenue’ of shoes with a dozen odd vendors selling roughly the same variety at the same price.

Solola Covered Market
Visit Solola if you want to witness a real Guatemala market.

We always wondered why there isn’t one person that wants to be different and steal all the customers.

Don’t count on too many options for women’s athletic shoes since there isn’t a huge market for them.

Another option is to fix your shoes for as little as Q10 / $1.35. They will glue and sew your soles back on!

Reattaching the Sole of my Hiking Shoe
It is cheaper to fix shoes than buy new ones in Solola, Guatemala.

Since we were staying in San Pedro La Laguna, this was an excellent chance to stock up on items we couldn’t find at our market or were too pricey.

Peanuts, blackberries, and strawberries were all on our short list.

It was amazing how much better quality the vegetables were. It’s like San Pedro La Laguna gets the leftovers that don’t sell.

Solola Market Taking Over the Street
Prices are ok in the covered section, but the real bargains can be found outside.

One of the most colorful displays inside Central de Mayoreo was a vendor selling huipiles (blouses).

The variety or weaving patterns was breathtaking to admire.

Solola Traditional Clothing Vendor
All we can say is, Wow! Look at all those colors and patterns.

2. Central Plaza

The central plaza is your base for transportation to and from Solola, Guatemala

Relax, and watch the locals pass by or just hang around without a care in the world.

Solola Central Plaza
Grab some ice cream, take a seat, and people watch.

Across the street is a government building that stands out, and helps you stay oriented.

Solola City Hall
If you get lost in Solola, use the tower to guide you back to the the main plaza.

More impressive was the congregation of locals at the Solola Municipal Office.

We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to witness a collage of traditional clothing.

The women donned brilliant huipiles, and the men wore their futuristic space cowboy attire with pride.

Solola Traditional Clothing
Solola is the definition of ‘peacocking’.

3. Church

Adjacent to the main plaza is Solola’s church.

It is hard to miss with bright ribbons floating above the entrance.

Solola Church
Does this remind you of mischief night, and throwing toilet paper on things?

The décor continues inside with red and white banners stretching across the ceiling.

The aisle is filled with faithful crawling on their knees back and forth to the altar for prayer.

Solola Church Interior
The best part was watching the traffic jam as those moving forward gave way to those crawling backwards.

4. Miradors (Lookouts)

There are a few miradors overlooking Lake Atitlan on the road from Panajachel since the road climbs to Solola.

Consider walking to one of them from either Lake Atitlan town on nice days, and then taking transportation the remainder of the way to the other village.

You can find three lookouts marked on

Panajachel View of Lake Atitlan and Volcanoes from Pier
Stare out across the lake since you can’t jump in! 🙁

5. Eating Tamales

After checking out the things to do in Solola, you’ve probably worked up an appetite!

Solola does tamales (Q3 / $0.40) differently than most Guatemalan villages.

They grill them, which takes away the soggy steamed texture. We are big fans even though mine had chicken bones inside. Why!?

There is also a fishbowl-sized ceviche (up to Q35 / $4.75) vendor on 6a Avenida.

Solola Grilled Tamales
We’ll take grilled over steamed tamales any day of the week.

How to Get To & From Solola

Getting to Solola is easy from Panajachel.

Simply catch a ‘chicken’ bus on Calle Real (Q3 / $0.40), and hop off at the main plaza. Do the opposite to return.

To reach the market, follow 7a Avenida and swing back on 6a Avenida when done. These are the streets running north/south on both sides of the main plaza.

Solola Market Entrance
‘Chicken’ bus passing the entrance to the market.
Did you know that there are Space Cowboys in Guatemala? Find out who they are and other interesting things to do in Solola, Guatemala #guatemala #centralamerica #cowboys

*** The Final Word – Try and time your visit to Solola to coincide with the Friday weekly market ***

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission if you click on a link and purchase something that we’ve recommended, at no extra cost to you.

Visited in August 2016


  1. Heard about the Space Cowboys for the first time. I am a great fan of the cowboys with their drawn guns and speeding horses of the wild west. The space cowboys are so colourful in their vibrant outfits. A visit to the market is bound to be a colourful affair.

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