The Town Where Coffins Are Commonplace

San Antonio Aguas Calientes is a municipio in the department of Sacatepéquez and is located about 30 minutes from downtown La Antigua. With a size of a little more than 15 square kilometers (almost 6 square miles), the municipio is composed of two villages or aldeas: San Andrés Ceballos and Santiago Zamora.
To get there, you can take a bus from the terminal behind the Municipal Market in La Antigua. The trip should cost you no more than Q5 each way.
San Antonio Aguas Calientes is known for the presentations made by local women where they demonstrate the traditional ways of weaving fabric. In different places the weavers demonstrate how back-strap looms are used in the production of textiles, including the huipiles (blouses) and cortes (skirts) that they themselves use.
Among the area’s main commercial activities are corn, beans, and coffee sales. There are also artisas who work with sheet metal and many whose area of craftsmanship is woodcarving.

Besides the tours to watch women weaving or visits to the town’s cemetery for colorful celebrations during November, one fact about San Antonio that’s not widely known is that it’s one of the largest producers of coffins in the country. With just a short walk around town, you’ll see how many carpentry shops there are –and how in many of them coffins are the featured attraction. Most are handmade – with lots of patience – and made using pine that’s sanded, cured, and painted to make a quality final product.
In the municipio there are several lumber yards and other wood distributors, and curiously enough, one of the largest is located just in front of the cemetery.

Written by:  QP
 Photos by: Sofía Letona

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