Xela - City Tour
Quetzaltenango is Guatemala's second city and its cultural heart. Affectionately called Xela (Shay-la), over 50% of Quetzaltenango's population is Mam-Mayan and Quiche, and it has the unofficial title of ‘Guatemala's Mayan Capital'. The city's central square, Parque a Centro America, is at the heart of its historic centre. Lined with beautiful colonial buildings including, a theatre and cultural centre, this relaxed, friendly city there is plenty to see and do in. Take a guided tour and get to know this fascinating place a little better with THGuatemala.
What will I see during on tour? – Parque Central, The Cathedral, the City Hall, Pasaje Enriquez, the Theater and much more.
Total trip time: 2.5 hours
Departure time: 9:00am from Xela
Included in Price: Local guides and entrance fees
Additional costs: Spending money to buy food and drinks if required
What to bring: Water, Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, comfortable walking shoes
Useful Information: Remember, Xela is one of the highest cities in Central America at an altitude of 2333m (7,546 ft)
Hike Santa María Volcano
Santa Maria’s peak rewards you with fabulous views of the volcanic chain that has shaped Guatemala’s diverse landscape. Look out across the Pacific south coast and feel the satisfaction as you take in the epic landscape. At 3772 m (12400ft), Santa Maria is a tough and demanding hike that requires preparation and planning. With a tough 4-hour ascent and 3-hour descent, Santa Maria is ideal for experienced hikers who enjoy a challenge. Want a big challenge with big rewards? Then come with THGuatemala on your Santa Maria volcano adventure.
Total trip time: 9 hours
Departure time: 5:00am from Xela
Included in Price: Private transport, local guide
What to bring: Food/Snacks, 2 litres of water, appropriate clothing and shoes for hiking, sun cream, hat
Useful Information: Overnight camping on Santa Maria is available Please contact us for more information.
Hike Chicabal volcano
This the sacred heart of the Mam-Mayan Cosmovision. On a clear day, Chicabal’s highest point gives you a magnificent view of Guatemala's Pacific coast and its other impressive volcanic peaks. It's a gentle climb that lasts about 2 hours to get up to the top and one more to go down.
Protected by enchanting cloud forest, you’d never believe this tranquil setting used to bubble with lava and sulphuric gas. Chicabal's immense biodiversity is also home to a fantastic variety of birds, insects and plants. You might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Guatemala's national bird the Quetzal.
Mam-Mayan priests still carry out rituals at Chicabal, the whole site feels like its folklore was carved from the landscape and its ancient myths come to life in this magical environment. This short day trip is an excellent opportunity to see why Chicabal is so important ecologically and spiritually for our people.
Total time to climb and descend: 2 hours to climb and 1 to descend
Departure time: 6:00am from Xela
Included in Price: Private transportation local guide, entrance fee.
Additional costs: Some extra money in case you would like to buy food or drinks.
What to bring: Hiking boots, long trousers, wind or rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, binoculars, personal items and at least 2 litters of water
Useful Information: No Swimming is permitted at any time due to the religious significance of the site.
The Hot Springs
The hot springs is a half day out for you to relax and enjoy the full benefits of Quetzaltenango’s best known hot springs. About an hour’s drive from Xela, this is a popular destination for the locals and visitors to the town. The site includes a restaurant and cabins for overnight stays while there are onsite lockers and towels available for visitors. This natural beauty spot is the perfect way for you to take the chill out of those cold highland mornings.
Total trip time: 4 hours
Departure time: From Xela - 9:00am or 2:00pm
Included in Price: Semi-private transport and entrance fee.
Additional costs: some extra money in case you would like to buy food or drinks.
What to bring: Swimwear, sandals, and a towel (although these are generally available on site, we can’t guarantee you’ll get one)
Useful Information: The park has 7 thermal pools, a restaurant and 9 cabins for overnight stays. If you are staying overnight in one of the cabins, then be aware that electricity is only available up to 9 pm and there are no TV facilities or internet.
The Colonial Church Tour
This is a great day trip from Xela that takes around 4 hours. The tour takes you to the oldest Catholic church in Central America, La Ermita de Salcajá, and the vibrant, striking and unforgettable San Andres Xecul.
La Ermita de Salcajá was built in 1524 and is home to the oldest statue of the Virgin Mary in Central America. The statue was transported from Spain and is a great historical example of the colonial power’s desire to convert the indigenous people.
San Andres Xecul is a complete contrast to the traditional Spanish look of La Hermita de Salcaja. The mix of colonial Catholicism and vibrant Mayan symbolism come together to create this beautiful church’s visually captivating facade.
During the church tour, you can enjoy some ‘Caldo de Fruta' which is a refreshing local eggnog style drink. Originally taken over by the Spanish it has been adapted and (in our clearly unbiased opinion) improved by the locals. A fascinating day that shows you the mix of cultures that have defined Guatemala’s history.
Total trip time: 4 hours
Departure time: 9:00am from Xela
Included in Price: Private transportation, tour guide, entrance fee to the churches, a taste of “Caldo de Frutas”
Additional costs: some extra money in case you would like to buy food or drinks
What to bring: comfortable shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera and water
Useful Information: The tour is available all year round and has a flexible schedule. A local family sells Caldo de Frutas if you would like to buy it.
Traditional food tour - Quichóm
This is a unique immersion into the Mayan culture, history and life now a day. Our chef, full of knowledge about the history of our ancestors, about the species, vegetables and fruits, is extremely happy to show and teach you how to prepare a traditional Maya Quiché food called “Quichóm”.
The kitchen will be full of flavours and smells that you would never have imagined. This interactive tour will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Mayan culture and taste a traditional Quetzalteco dish, made by a Quetzaltecan Mayan woman.
Total trip time: 3 hours
Departure time: 11:00am or 5:00pm
Included in Price: Cooking class, tasting the prepared dish that could be lunch or dinner
Useful Information: The meal is made by chicken, meet or pig, please if you are vegetarian let us to know so we can substitute the meet.