Quetzaltenango is big, like its name – which the locals kindly shorten to Xela (shell-ah), itself an abbreviation of the original Quiché Maya name, Xelajú – but by Guatemalan standards, it is an orderly, clean and safe city. It tends to attract a more serious type of traveler – people who really want to learn Spanish and then stay around and get involved in the myriad volunteer projects on offer.

Xela also functions as a base for a range of spectacular hikes through the surrounding countryside – the ascent to the summit of Volcán Tajumulco (Central America's highest point) and the three-day trek to Lago de Atitlán,to name a few.

Chichicastenango market tour

Surrounded by valleys and mountains scattering the horizons, Chichicastenango seems to be isolated from time and space and the rest of Guatemala.


When its narrow cobbled streets and red-tiled roofs are enveloped in mist, it seems magical. On the Thursday and Sunday market local craftsmen from the entire region come to this town to sell their goods.  Shamanistic and other ceremonials can be found here as well. Apart from the market you can visit the cathedral, museum Rossbach, a mask factory and Pascual Abaj. During the Sunday market you also have a good chance to see the cofradias (Mayan religious brotherhoods) who often hold precessions in and around the church of Santo Tomás on Sunday.

Information

Availability Thursdays and Sundays
Departure times 07:00 am
Departure point Your hotel/address
Duration Approx. 8 hours
Price 60 USD - minimum 2 persons
Included

Return transport from Quetzaltenango

  Local guide
  Entrance fees

+10 USD per group for an English-speaking guide

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