The city Retalhuleu is the administrative center of the department of the same name. Retalhuleu lies in the pacific lowland zone called Costa Cuca. It is the capital of one of the richest and most productive departments in Guatemala, with agriculture generating the main economic income. However, Retalhuleu is also becoming an important tourist destination for individual and more culture interested tourists.
The territory has always been debated by both Quiche and Mam Maya. The city’s name derives from the fact that the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado drew a line of demarcation on the floor in order to separate the territory. The city Retalhuleu was founded in 1825 and thus has a colonial style city center.
Around the main square Parque Central, you will find the most interesting colonial buildings and some tourist attractions. The most important building on the square is the huge white church San Antonio de Padua. The square itself invites for a nice rest in the shade of one of the pavilions or next to one of the fountains, listening to the sound of the water. The city itself has not many tourist attractions. However, the archeological and ethnological museum is an interesting address to learn about the Mayan culture in the area.
Retalhuleu is known as a good starting point for excursions in the close surroundings. You can visit the ancient Mayan site Takalik Abaj. It is about one hour away from Retalhuleu and still a secret Mayan ruin not known by many tourists. From Retalhuleu you can also visit one of the many coffee plantations which are located close by and learn about the harvest and the production of Guatemalan coffee. Another attraction is the water park Xocomil and the amusement park Xetulul, which are also a one hour drive away from the city.
You can take a public bus from Guatemala CIty or from Quetzaltenango which go directly to Retalhuleu.