Cathedral of the Holy Spirit of Quetzaltenango

Things to do in  Quetzaltenango

Discover the heart of Guatemala

Quetzaltenango, known locally as Xela, is a peaceful city in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. It’s famous for its colonial architecture, vibrant Mayan culture, and outdoor adventure activities. Visitors can explore local attractions and take day trips to nearby Fuentes Georginas hot springs, Santa Maria Volcano, and Chichicastenango Market. Quetzaltenango is also a popular destination for learning Spanish due to the city’s affordable cost of living, immersive cultural environment, and welcoming attitude toward foreigners.

Top 3 attractions in Quetzaltenango

Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs

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The Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs are a natural gem nestled in the heart of Guatemala’s Western Highlands. Known for their therapeutic waters, the hot springs offer a rejuvenating experience surrounded by lush tropical landscapes. They’re the perfect place to relax between hiking or sightseeing.More

Xocomil Water Park (Parque Acuático Xocomil)

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Xocomil Water Park is the largest and most visited water park in Guatemala, and is designed around the recreation of a Mayan pyramid. The world-class, award-winning park has 14 different water slides, four pools and two wave pools, one for adults, and one designed for children.More

Xetulul Theme Park (Gran Parque de Diversiones Xetulul)

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Tucked away in the northeastern department of Retalhuleu, the award-winning Xetulul Theme Park is the third largest amusement park in Latin America, featuring roller coasters, an enormous waterpark, a spa and a clutch of luxury hotels. One of the most visited tourist sites of Guatemala, the park welcomes over one million visitors annually.More

All about Quetzaltenango

When to visit

Quetzaltenango enjoys a temperate climate year-round, but the best time to visit is from November to March when the weather is dry and sunny. This is also when the city celebrates its most important festivals, including the Day of the Dead and the Feria de San Andres. The rainy season, from May to October, can be unpredictable, but it also brings lush greenery and beautiful scenery. Regardless of when you visit, be sure to pack warm clothes, as temperatures drop dramatically at night.

Getting around

The best way to get around Quetzaltenango is on foot, as most attractions are within walking distance of the city center. Taxis and shared minivans are also available throughout the city. For intercity journeys, consider taking a chicken bus—a colorful, local mode of cheap and adventurous transportation. There are shuttle transfer services to and from Lago Atitlan, Antigua, and Guatemala City for additional comfort and security.

Traveler tips

Quetzaltenango experiences occasional power outages that usually happen without warning and last several hours. While many businesses have generators, hotels and homes often do not. Keep all your devices charged or have a remote charger on hand. If you depend on the internet for work, consider investing in a Guatemalan SIM card from Tigo or Claro. Both carriers offer a variety of affordable short-term phone plans.

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People Also Ask

What are the top attractions in Quetzaltenango?

Quetzaltenango (Xela) historical attractions include the Parque Central, the Catedral del Espiritu Santo, and Cementerio General. Explore the colorful La Democracia Market or catch a game at Mario Camposeco Stadium to taste the local culture. If the weather is sunny, make the short but invigorating hike to the Cerro Baul viewpoint.

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Is Quetzaltenango safe for tourists?

Yes. Like any city, Quetzaltenango has its share of crime and safety concerns, but most visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience by taking common-sense precautions. Avoid carrying valuables and walking alone at night, particularly outside the city center. Guatemalans are friendly people and will gladly assist you when they can.

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Can I hike the Santa Maria volcano without a guide?

Yes. However, while it's technically possible to hike the Santa Maria volcano without a guide, joining a group or private tour is recommended for safety reasons. These organized excursions often include hiking equipment, food, and round-trip transportation. Hiking with a guide also lets you learn about the local flora and fauna.

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What is the best way to get to Quetzaltenango from Guatemala City?

The easiest way to get to Quetzaltenango from Guatemala City is by taking a 4-hour private shuttle transfer, which can be arranged through a tour operator or hotel. For a more affordable option, consider traveling by coach with Alamo, Fuente del Norte, or Linea Dorada bus company. Tickets can be purchased online or in person.

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What is the language spoken in Quetzaltenango?

The official language of Guatemala is Spanish, but many locals in Quetzaltenango also speak indigenous languages such as K'iche' and Mam. In the city center, most restaurants and businesses cater to English speakers. While local markets, like la Mercado Municipal La Democracia and Mercado Minerva, are the perfect place to practice your Spanish (and bargaining) skills.

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What should I pack for a trip to Quetzaltenango?

Situated 7,644 feet (2,330 meters) above sea level, visitors to Quetzaltenango can expect cool temperatures year-round. Be sure to pack layers of clothing to accommodate varying temperatures. The city’s high elevation and UV index necessitate sunscreen and a reusable water bottle. Remember to only refill with purified water (agua pura).

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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What are the top things to do in Quetzaltenango?
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What are the top things to do near Quetzaltenango?
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