Quetzaltenango City Guide
Quetzaltenango Location: Northwestern Highlands of Guatemala
Quetzaltenango is a fascinating city located approximately 4-5 hours north of Guatemala City. Xela (as it it called by the locals) is Guatemala’s second-largest city and the center of the Quiché Maya people. Towering over the city is the Santa Maria volcano and the active Santiaguito volcano
Quetzaltenango is the commercial center of its region of Guatemala. With quiet parks, plazas and narrow stone-paved streets, Quetzaltenango is considered a progressive city in Central America. It has four universities, various technical schools, a sports complex, and a municipal arts theater. As a result, students who come to Quetzaltenango to learn Spanish at the Quetzaltenango Spanish School have the opportunity to observe, and more importantly, interact with the local population and participate in daily Guatemalan life. Visitors will find plenty of things to do in the city while those that wish to get out to explore the mountains will find numerous eco-tourism organizations offering hiking and camping treks through the mountains, complete with all the necessary gear and professional, experienced guides
Within a few miles of the city there are several Mayan towns which are famous for their busy markets and colorful traditional costumes and woven goods. Around Quetzaltenango, there are many opportunities to learn about Guatemalan culture. Locals make chocolate and tortillas by hand in their shops, and many are happy to show off their abilities and knowledge if asked. Tourists can find examples of the traditional weaving-styles of the area at local women’s cooperatives in Xela and Zunil, where lessons in traditional back-strap loom weaving are given daily. Another way to support the local economy is to buy a pound or two of locally grown organic fair-trade coffee, or go on a trip to a local indigenous-owned coffee finca. The trips to the fincas are a great experience in the outdoors due to Guatemala’s temperate climate, a function of both the latitude and altitude
Things To See And Do In The Area
- Visit nearby Mayan villages
- Climb some nearby volcanoes
- Visit the hot springs which are about an hour outside the city
- Visit local markets
- Explore the nearby areas
- An overnight trip to the pyramids at Tikal
- Visit Chichicastenango (most famous market in Central America)
- AND much more!
Come to Quetzaltenango to learn Spanish and explore a cultural, historic, and fascinating area of Guatemala.
Getting To Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
You have one main way to arrive.
- Fly into Guatemala City
- Take a bus from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango
- About 4-5 hours depending on traffic
- We can arrange pickup service.
If you have questions about how to arrive into Quetzaltenango, Guatemala please do not hesitate to contact us.