Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quetzaltenango, so called Xela

Xela was my first stop in Guatemala. The idea was to go directly to Chichicastenango, very famous for its Sunday-market, just after crossing the Mexican border but it was already quite late in the afternoon. After 5pm is difficult to find direct buses and travelling in the dark can be dangerous. Anyway I definitely recommend Xela as a first stop after crossing the border and it can also become a stationery point for exploring the surrounding area where various outdoor activities can be practiced: rock-climbing, volcano hiking, mountain-bike and more. Xela is surrounded by few volcanoes and if you are interested to explore them I suggest you contacting the following organization: Quetzaltrekkers. They offer very interesting and adventurous activities for a very reasonable price while at the same time they financially support the instruction of local kids.

For an unbelievably cheap and clean overnight I recommend you staying at the family run Casa Argentina where is also based Quetzaltrekkers. They charge you 20Q. for a big comfy bed in a dormitory (see pic) and 30Q. for private single room. Clean bathrooms are shared, there is hot water and the family is very friendly and helpful.
Square of Xela
Xela isn't particularly attractive for its architectural beauty which is only found in the main plaza (see pic). The main square here as well is dominated by the facade of an old cathedral which got destroyed many years before by the eruption of a volcano. In the evening streets are very quiet and dark. There are several cute and cheap cafe' and restaurant.

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