The lava dome Cerro el Baúl is one of the ten mountains dominating the valley of Quetzaltenango. The mountain lies in the south-east of the city and is a famous Sunday destination of many Quetzaltecos. With its 2’650 meters in altitude, the Cerro el Baúl gives a spectacular view over Quetzaltenango and serves as a recreational area. It is one of the last green zones in Quetzaltenango and was declared National Park in 1955.
There are many stories and legends around the Cerro el Baúl. One is about the mysterious wooden box, which is supposed to be buried somewhere on the mountain. It is told, that it was found once by a girl who then brought it back home. Later, the wooden box disappeared and with it the girl. Days after, the parents found their daughter at the Cerro el Baúl together with the wooden box, whereupon the girl answered that things from the Baúl belong to the mountain and nobody can take them away. To find out what is true about the stories, you should visit the Cerro by yourself.
It will take you about thirty to sixty minutes to walk up the hill of the Cerro el Baúl. The first thing you will reach is the huge white cross. From this viewpoint you have a fantastic panoramic vista over Quetzaltenango with the mountains in the background. Some 300 meter further is the main square with the obelisk in memory of the Revolution of 1871. Around the square you will also find food and beverage vendors and seating facilities to enjoy your picnic.
Continuing along, you will reach the playground famous for its long and steep stone slides. For many, that is the only reason to get up the hill, so you should definitely try it out. Borrow a flattened-out plastic bottle or a piece of cardboard from the local kids and get on the slide. Be careful though, it is a speedy ride. There are also smaller slides, if you want to practice first or are just too scared to take the big ones.
To reach Cerro el Baúl head down 6a Calle from the central square towards the east. At the T take a left and continue walking the street Diagonal 2 until you reach 5a Calle, where you take a right. Walk this street straight uphill, you will pass a playground on your left and shortly after you will see the sign to el Baúl on a stonewall on the right side. So, turn right in front of the wall and keep walking the path through the forest until you reach the viewpoint.