Written by: Ligia
Quetzaltenango is the second largest city of Guatemala, with a population of around 200,000 habitants. It is also known, in the language Maya K´iché, as Xelajuj No´j that means “Under the ten”, a reference to the city being surrounded by 10 mountains. The most popular way to call the city is “Xela,” so when you visit the country and one of your destinations is this city, make sure to call it Xela (She-lá) and you will sound like a total local.
There are many ways to see the city. In this post, we will start with some places that you must visit in your first visit.
Central Park or Park to Central America, is known by the locals as “el parque”. It is located in the center of city (doubtful, as the city has grown towards a particular side). The beautiful stone buildings reflect not only the history of the city, but the history of the country. The main church known as “el Catedral” (official name: The Holy Spirit Church) is a must see.
Want to meet people? Hang out in this area and visit its many coffee shops and restaurants.
The local cemetery is located right beside a Catholic church known as “El Calvario.” Every Sunday, street vendors arrive with flowers, since after mass some people will go visit their loved ones.
If you want a full view of the city, then you must visit “Cerro El Baúl.” You can climb from one side (it’s not a tough climb), or go in a car. This natural park is where you can have a picnic, enjoy nature and have an amazing view of the city.
El Baul is close to one of the entrance to the city where you can find 2 emblematic monuments of the city. One is “La Marimba” the national instrument of Guatemala and for the one is well know Xela as the best composers of marimba music were from. The second is the “Six State Arch” that reminds all people born in Xela that once we were a country separate from Guatemala.
Xela has two theaters for art and culture. Both locations have unique features and many tales within. The main theatre, the Municipal Theater, was built out of stone and has very detailed wood features.
The 2nd is the Roma Theater, which was built with concrete, but also has wood detailing inside.
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