The 10 Best Things to Do in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

December 8, 2017 Vergie Nakamoto

Quetzaltenango, also known by its Maya name, Xelajú [ʃelaˈχu] or Xela [ˈʃela], is the second largest city of Guatemala. It is both the capital of Quetzaltenango Department and the municipal seat of Quetzaltenango municipality.
Restaurants in Quetzaltenango

1. Santa Maria Volcano

Llano del Pinal, Quetzaltenango 09001, Guatemala +502 4747 7902
Excellent
74%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 142 reviews

Santa Maria Volcano

Reviewed By Lara S - London, England, United Kingdom

Sadly this volcano is very poorly maintained. There is trash everywhere. There was so much up at the summit that we couldn't even sit without being covered in flys and bees.
The hike was also harder than we expected. Make sure you bring enough food and water! Also, sadly it was really cloudy and we couldn't see anything so make sure you get there really early. Bearing in mind it can take 4-5 hours for a relatively fit person to climb.

2. Laguna Chicabal

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala +502 3025 6142
Excellent
61%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 129 reviews

Laguna Chicabal

Reviewed By Gabriella B - Berea, Kentucky

There is a reason this lake is considered sacred by the Mayan people. After a challenging hike up to the site (located inside an inactive volcano), you will find it hard to regain your breath just by looking at the sheer beauty and calm of the area. Must go in the early morning before the clouds come down and cover most of the area, and highly recommended to go with a guide during your first visit as some of the trails extend towards farms or other work areas and you may get lost. My group used Xela Adventures with Daniel (a WONDERFUL and Highly experienced bilingual tour guide). Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a necessity. Perhaps if you are lucky, you will find the remnants of a Mayan ceremony, see an active ceremony, or see the elusive Quetzal bird!

3. Central Plaza

12 Av. And 4 Calle, Quetzaltenango 09001, Guatemala +502 4430 2416
Excellent
46%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
20%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 179 reviews

Central Plaza

This beautiful town square is a gathering place for locals, and is home to a Cathedral and museum.

Reviewed By TabsterInc - Los Angeles, California

This place is good spot to absorb the City of Xela. Plenty of foot traffic so great place to people watch. Also, many food options around. There's a local street food scene for cheap eats and equally good.

4. Cerro El Baul

Quetzaltenango, Quetzaltenango 09001, Guatemala
Excellent
39%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
22%
Poor
5%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 75 reviews

Cerro El Baul

Reviewed By Iamkay - Manitou Springs, Colorado

Its worth the time to hike up to Cerro El Baul and take in the beautiful view of the city. If you have time, meander over to the park and grab a cardboard or plastic sheet and slide down the concrete slides! This is a wonderful weekend activity!

5. Catedral del Espiritu Santo

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Excellent
58%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 33 reviews

Catedral del Espiritu Santo

Reviewed By Ross S

This Cathedral is very typical of those found in Guatemala. The day we were visiting, there was a wedding being performed. Very nicely decorated and there were many invited guests. The women were mostly all dressed in the native dress for Quetzaltenango. The church is on the main square of the city so we enjoyed the foot traffic and all the people.

6. Santiaguito Volcano

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Excellent
73%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 21 reviews

Santiaguito Volcano

Reviewed By HearDoc - Seattle

Early morning departure with Queztaltrekkers is best. We departed @ 5:30am and were transported in a new van with 10 adventurers. Carlos was an awesome guide sharing the flora and fauna as we made the hike to the mirador. 1.5 hours each way. Carlos made us coffee at the overlook. This is my 2nd trip and will certainly contact the group again when I return with new folks.

7. La Ermita de la Concepcion (La Conquistadora)

Excellent
51%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 24 reviews

La Ermita de la Concepcion (La Conquistadora)

Reviewed By LolaGo1 - Washington DC, District of Columbia

This church was the last place we visited with Adrenalina Tours. Per our guide, this church is the oldest in Central America.
It is located in Salcaja, Guatemala, a place used by the Spaniards for their administration of conquered areas and for their residence. The baby of the Conquistador Alvarado and his Mayan princess (first Guatemalan mestisa per our guide) was baptized at this church.
This church was closed during our visit so we could not see what's inside. It is opened on Saturdays and on some special events.

8. Lxkik Maya Museum

St 4TA | 20 Ave, Zone 3, Quetzaltenango 09001, Guatemala +502 5653 5585
Excellent
80%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 10 reviews

Lxkik Maya Museum

Reviewed By reisreus - Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Located next to the railway museum, you find this very interesting Maya clothing museum. The owner gives a very extensive tour through all the rooms where costumes are displayed. They do not receive any government grant and therefor are depending on their visitors. It is worth your money.

9. Xocomil

Irtra, Quetzaltenango 09001, Guatemala +502 7729 4000
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 7 reviews

Xocomil

Reviewed By legacyLA - Los Angeles, California

If you go on Thursday, the lines are a lot shorter, and you can get a discount on tickets to the rides theme park across the road. It is NOT open Monday to Wednesday. They have water attractions for all ages and you can spend a day here easily without getting boarded and go on multiple slides many times, so the value is tremendous.

10. Centro Cultural Efrain Recinos

Avenida Jesus Castillo 3-24, Quetzaltenango 09001, Guatemala +502 7761 7128
Excellent
67%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Centro Cultural Efrain Recinos

Reviewed By MichiganZumbido - Michigan

Efrain Recinos passed some four years ago, but his acolyte Rodrigo Dias is keeping his name alive at his own small studio that lies within the confines of the otherwise nearly abandoned Estation de Ferrocarriles ( Train Station ). Pay a visit! Chat with Rodrigo, an accomplished, world traveled artist in his own right, who continues to press the local establishment to give further attention to the arts in Xela. He speaks Engish, as well as Spanish. Buy one or more of Rodrigo Diaz's paintings! He is poised for greatness himself!

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