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San Andrés Xecul

  • (worth a detour)
  • 1-2 km
  • Easy
  • Free
  • 2 hours
  • 2 2

The village with the most curious and colourful church you can imagine

San Andres Xecul, Totonicapan, Guatemala

The small and hilly town San Andrés Xecul winds up the mountain in the Totonicapan department of Guatemala. The city’s name is a combination of its ancient name Xecul and the name San Andrés, how it was called during the Hispanic era. San Andrés Xecul is most famous for its bright yellow church, however, it is also a nice, little town to stroll around, to climb up the steep streets and to explore the other churches and chapels.


The facade of the church is facing west towards the mountain. So, when entering the town, looking up the hill, do not get confused. You will not immediately make out the church. However, you will see another bright yellow church further up the hill, but that is not the famous church of San Andrés Xecul.


The actual foundation and building date of the church is unknown. The church is known for its curious and colourful decoration all around the world. Nobody knows exactly why the church is decorated like this, so colorful and delicate. With its bright colours in yellow, orange, green and blue, the church looks like made up of sweets. The dome is colored in bright blue, green and red stripes, reminding of a beach ball. Looking at the church, you will definitely feel like in Disneyland.


Examining the facade more closer, you will make out the different figures and decorations and wonder about their significance. You can find monkeys, human figures, fruits, corn, angels and birds, all lined up in total chaos. You do not even know where to look first, because there is just too much decoration and too much colour on the facade. The only thing you can be certain about is, that you are not hallucinating as the church is real.


The town San Andrés Xecul has not much more on offer. You can walk along the streets and explore the town, discovering more small chapels and holy shrines with sacred figures. From the top of the hill you can enjoy a nice panoramic view over the city, and the Totonicapan valley with the surrounding mountains. The town offers some small restaurants and cafés for lunch or you can immerse yourself in the small market.

How to get there

You can take a direct bus from Quetzaltenango to San Andres Xecul, which runns frequently from Monday to Saturday.

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