The market town of Chichicastenango has a large and colourful Sunday and Thursday market. If time allows, it is worth arriving the night before to watch the stalls being set up and visit early the following morning to avoid the crowds.
Travelling west of Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela, is a good base for walking. Within reach are Sanguito volcano (Central America’s most active), Laguna Chicabal (an extinct volcano with a crater lake venerated by the Maya), or the dormant volcano Cerro Quemado.
The Cuchumatanes mountains extend north from the town of Huehuetenango to the Mexican border. Their 3,000m plateau is densely populated and most of the rocks are limestone, which have been used to make walls to keep sheep, goats, horses, mules and donkeys in their fields.
Our preferred accommodation
Hotel Santo TomasInn/Posada - ChichicastenangoA comfortable hotel in an enviable position with a lovely courtyard area. There is a pool and good restaurant. The market area starts as you descend the steps of the hotel.
Mayan InnInn/Posada - ChichicastenangoIn the centre of town, on the edge of the market. The hotel has a renowned collection of antiques and a lovely, bright courtyard with a seating area.
Pension BonifazCity hotel - QuetzaltenangoA grand, colonial style hotel built on a hill right at the corner of 'Xela's' central plaza. The large, bright communal areas have 70's décor and are filled with colourful art.
Unicornio AzúlCountry hotel - ChiantlaAt 3,000m on the Cuchumatanes plateau and owned by a charming French/Guatemalan couple. There are beautifully constructed stables and fine horses.