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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in quetzaltenango

Free Travel guide A free travel guide for holidays. Hotels in quetzaltenango, Bed and Breakfast!

Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela or Xelaju, is a second great city in Guatemala. Situated at the southwest of the country, the Quetzaltenango (department)surrounding department has a variety of landscapes extending from the cold High Lands (Guatemala)High Lands to the warm Pacific Coast (Guatemala)Pacific Coast. There are numerous volcanos, hot waters springs, valleys, mountains, rivers. The region provides a harvest of numerous products such as coffee, wheat, fruits and vegetables, without forgetting sheep and cattle breeding.

These qualities make Quetzaltenango is an interesting place to visit.

quetzaltenango Travel Guide :


Get in

The Panamerican Highway (CA-1) which crosses the High Lands (Guatemala)High Lands or the International (CA-2), parallel to the Pacific Coast (Guatemala)Pacific Coast.


Get around

An able bodied person can walk from the center to any point in Xela in about thirty minutes. Minibus routes thread through all parts of the city and, although cramped, cost only a Qetzal. The bus costs less but is slower and less frequent.

For travel around the countryside the local busses are very reasonable. They can be entertaining, and at times, quite crowded.



The city of Quetzaltenango, the Departament's principal town is situated on an extensive plain and surrounded by hills and volcanos. The city of Quetzaltenango conserves the Maya-Quiche's old traditions and the colonial past, while maintaining the dynamism of modern life.

The Mam authority, called Kulahá, reached its most important expansion. Later Quiches's Lords conquered the area and founded Xelajú previously situated at the base of the volcano Santa Maria.

Then, it was transfered to the north, and the Nahuas who went with the Spaniards gave it the name of Quetzaltenango (Place of walls).

The center of the magistrate's authority during the Hispanic period and during certain time the capital of the so-called "Sixth State of the Central American Confederation ".




Historical Center

The town conserves traces of the colonial period in its streets and avenues. The classic, neoclassic and Italian renaissance styles are evident in the buildings and the houses which have been built during the past century and the beginning of the 20th, with volcanic stones by "Quetzaltecos" artful masons. Some examples of architectural styles:

  • Espiritu Santo Cathedral : Consist of two structures. The "Espiritu Santo" parish's ancient facade (1535/1896) and to the back the "Diócesis de los Altos" (1899).
  • The Municipal Theatre is a very important Neoclassical work.
  • The Central America park : Situated in the centre of the town is also centre of cultural activities and amusements.
  • The Enrique Passage : Near the central park.
  • Gobernacion : one block from the central park.
  • Also visit the Cerro del Baúl, where one can have a beautiful view of Quetzaltenango's valley, day or night (accessible by foot, car or taxi).

Quetzaltenango has important cultural activities. There, you'll find the Occidental Cultural Centre (La Casa de la Cultura de Occidente), and Alliance Française de Quetzalteango, numerous activities are scheduled all year.

The first Sunday of each month, the "Quetzaltecos" install the artisans' market in the central park where handcrafts from Quetzaltenago and surrounding villages are displayed. In September, the annual fair and festival is offered from the 12th to the 18th.



Xela is an excellent place to take language lessons (both Spanish and some of the Mayan languages specific to the area). There are various schools in the city - most offer rates based on one week of instruction (approx. 5 hours per day). Many also offer homestay options, which is an excellent way to make sure you keep practicing at all times. One of the best reasons to learn in Xela is the price. You can expect to pay about US$130 per week including homestay. This often includes internet access. Arrangements can be made ahead of time or upon arrival (most schools have multilingual administrators who can help make arrangements via email or phone - some even offer airport pick up from Guatemala City).

The salsa scene is also very active in Xela. Lessons are very cheap and there are lots of clubs.





A very nice vegetarian restaurant, El Alcemista, overlooks the city of Xela from the hills to the north.



Only drink purified water (agua pura).




I was in a hostel called something san pedro, but im not sure about the exact name an location. I think it was 8a calle. 35 Quetzales (4 USD) per night


Get out

It may be possible to arrange a tour of the Gallo brewery by calling ahead.

You can spend hours in and around the Mercado de la Democracia in the commercial center of Xela. It is where the locals shop for most of their needs.

Any concert is worth attending in the Municipal Theater. It is beautiful inside.

Evening marimba concerts are often given on the steps of the Municipalidad on the west side of Parque Centro America.

Walk around town. In the side streets, you'll often come upon a master giving guitar lessons or a group of men practicing Marimba.

Go to a football game: Xelaju M. C. vs anyone. The crowd is animated and the fireworks alone can be worth the price of admission. Don't pay extra for the high priced seats, they remove you from much of the fun. Try to sit in the corner near the band. A "Xelaju M. C." flag to wave costs Q10. Grilled sausages are less. No alcohol permitted in the stadium.

Fireworks! If it's your birthday, or you just feel like it, blow off a couple of Qetzals for a big string of firecrackers. You'll normally hear them any evening or early morning.


Must See

  • Zunil a 9 km from Quetzaltenango. Monday is market day. Located on the Samala river and on the main highway leading own the coast, Zunil's people wear attractive clothes made by hand using traditional techniques featuring intricate designs and bright colors. This picturesque town is the center for the worship of "Maximon" or "San Simon" a life-sized mannequin endowed with occult power: Just 8 Kms. from town on the slopes of the inactive Zunil volcano you'll find the beautiful "Las Georginas" thermal springs, equipped with restaurant and bungalows. They are newly open for business and restored since the hurrucane.


The "Quetzaltecos" villages of Quiche and Mam origins, have small places with impressive colonial style churches where the tourist will see the regional handcrafts displayed on market days.

  • SalcajáSalcajá: 9 kms. from Quetzaltenango. Market day: Tuesday. local festival the 25th of august. Here was constructed the church of San Jacinto, the first of the religious constructions of the region and a beautiful example of colonial architecture. Also famous for its hand-woven "jaspe " materials and unique alcoholic beverages known as "caldo de fruta" " and "rompopo" .
  • San Juan OstuncalcoSan Juan Ostuncalco 12 kms. from Quetzaltenango. Situated in a valley of the mountainous region, it is the commercial centre for the Mam-speaking villages which border the departament. Here you may acquire musicals instruments, wicker furniture as well as lovely hand woven materials.
  • Almolonga 5 km from Quetzaltenango. Market on Wednesday and Saturday. Annual festival the 26th-29th of June. Known for its variety of vegetables which are cultivated on the smell farms which surround the village. You will also enjoy thermal springs such as "Las aguas amargas" and "El rosario" .
  • CantelCantel 10 km from Quetzaltenango. Visit the interesting cooperative for handmade blown glass.
  • OlintepequeOlintepeque : 7 Km from Quetzaltenango. The place where according to legend, the famous Maya-Quiche prince Tecún Uman died in battle against Pedro de Alvarado in 1524.
  • San Andres XeculSan Andres Xecul : 7 kms from Quetzaltenango, in the direction of the "Cuatro Caminos" highway junction, with a colonial-style whose facade is both colorfull and picturesque.
  • Volcán Santa Maria, 12,256 feet & Santiaguito. The summit of the Santa Maria Volcano lies at the end of the steep 3-4 hours climb from the village of Llanos del Pinal (located 6Kms. above Quetzaltenango). You'll best enjoy the truly awesome view during the clearer weather of the early morning hours. The whole coastal plain lies at your feet, along with the cities of Quetzaltenago and Tapachula, Mexico. You can look down into the very active Santiaguito crater which erupts at least once every hour. You can still enjoy the view minus the ragged hike by driving to the top of the adjacent Siete Orejas Volcano. (10,384 feet above sea level).
  • La laguna de Chicabal, 3 hours by foot from the village of San Martin ChileverdeSan Martin Chileverde (14 Kms from Quetzaltenango). At this very picturesque lagoon, the sorceres of the whole region meet on the 3th of may.

The High Country

  • TotonicapanTotonicapan Near Quetzaltenango, you have to visit the principal town TotonicapanTotonicapan (in the departament of the same name). Known for its hand woven textiles and his potteries.
  • San Francisco El AltoSan Francisco El Alto Friday this is the site of the Central America's largest market. If you can buy it in Guatemala, you can buy it here, although there is very little aimed specifically at tourists. If you can, drop by the cathedral and see if someone will take you up on the roof for a bird's-eye view of what's going on.
  • MomostenangoMomostenango: Wednesday & Sunday: Market. This curious "Riscos de Oro", rock formation produced by erosion.
  • San Cristobal TotonicapanSan Cristobal Totonicapan Church and Convent of the XVII.

Hacia la Costa

  • El PalmarEl Palmar Town destroyed by Santiaguito Volcano. Lagoons and tropical vegetations.
  • RetalhuleuRetalhuleu 62 Kms.,CuyotenangoCuyotenango y CoatepequeCoatepeque 120 Kms from Quetzaltenango. Swimming pool and tropical climate. .

Pacific Beach

  • ChampericoChamperico, TilapaTilapa, Las DeliciasLas Delicias, TulateTulate.

External links Spanish immersion

  • About Quetzaltenango, Xela

  • Forum about Quetzaltenango:

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