1. Study Spanish as a second language:
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Quetzaltenango or Xela is the best city to get a full immersion into the language because of the local Mayan culture, Xela is not expensive and English speech is low, which means you will have many opportunities to practice and improve your Spanish.
2. City tour, downtown :
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In order to admire the beauty of its buildings and architecture, learn about the history and culture of the second most important city in Guatemala, through this tour.
Xela is famous because it has some of the oldest colonial buildings in the country since it was here that the Spanish Conquistadors first settled, also the awesome view of the Santa María Volcano, which is considered The Highlands Protector.
3. Quetzaltenango Public Cemetery tour:
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Xela´s cemetery is one of the oldest in Guatemala. It is located in the 20 avenue, zone 1 , El Calvario.
4. Weaving school:
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You will have the opportunity to learn the ancient art of backstrap loom weaving from the women weavers at TRAMA Textiles, women’s weaving cooperative in Guatemala.
During your time at weaving school, you will learn how to select the best materials, prepare the thread and weave using a traditional backstrap loom. You will also have the opportunity to find out more about different weaving processes, the history of Mayan weaving, and the rich culture of textiles in Guatemala.
The school is located on 3a street 10-56, Quezaltenango, Guatemala.
Or send them a message at email@example.com
5. Salcajá and its first church in Central America:
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Called “La Conquistadora” for being the first church founded in Central America in 1524, it is located in Salcajá, Quetzaltenango. To get to the town you can take a Chicken bus to Totonicapan and get off the bus at Salcajá which is around 15 minutes driving. Or take a private transportation and guide at Info@thguatemala.com
But the adventure doesn’t end at the church, Salcajá is also famous for its strong beverage called “Caldo De Frutas”, which is a traditional and delicious sweet wine made by fermenting seasonal fruits with rum over many months.
6. San Andrés Xecul and The colorful church in Guatemala
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This is a uniquely beautiful and colorful church which you will not see anywhere else in the world and this is because it is adorned with images and beautiful yellows and oranges which appear to make it come alive, all made by the locals Mayan community.
Located in Totonicapán.
7. Trek to Chicabal lagoon and volcano:
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The Chicabal volcano and lake are considered to be one of the most sacred ecological sites in the Mayan Cosmo vision. They are used for carrying out rituals and ceremonies, especially praying for rain. This picturesque volcano mixes Mayan-Mam spirituality and stunning mountain scenery with the mysterious lake in the crater of the volcano and its mystical cloud forest. On arriving at the site you can see birds such as the Quetzal and many other species of great importance to the national fauna.
Foreigners pay Q25.00 fee to enter the reserve. It is located in San Martin Chile Verde, an hour far from Xela, you can take a microbus to the town or take a shuttle, ask firstname.lastname@example.org
8. Trek to Santa Maria volcano:
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The Santa Maria volcano is located next to the small village of Llanos del Pinal.
You have to be ready for this striking stratovolcano that towers 1400 meters over Xela at 3772m total altitude. For this reason, you are required to have some training and maybe stay at Xela for at least one week to be accustomed to the altitude. The altitude sick can mess up the trekking, and the probable symptoms can be a headache, stomach problems, and cramps.
You can take a bus to the village or pay a guide and transportation which is better and safest. Ask email@example.com
9. Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs
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The feeling of walking on the clouds and a relaxing bath in the hot springs.
This is a natural paradise and it is the most famous hot springs in Guatemala. Nestled in cloud forest half way up Zunil volcano, only 40 minutes from Xela, In this beautiful place you will find 3 thermal pools of different temperatures which make for an idyllic place to soak and relax. In order to use the pools, this place also offers changing rooms, a restaurant, and lockers. There are rustic bungalows for rent as well. Bring: Bathing suit, towel, jacket, and camera.
Located in Zunil, 8 kilometers from the principal road, coming from Quetzaltenango take the left. Or Ask firstname.lastname@example.org for the daily shuttles.
10. Volunteering programs:
The purpose of the Volunteer Program in all places is to connect the expressed needs of national and international volunteers who have specific skills with local organizations that have concrete needs and are interested in receiving volunteers.
EntreMundos offers interested people the opportunity to volunteer with more than 100 organizations in the country, the majority of them in the western highlands. These entities work in fields such as education, health, nutrition and food security, hygiene, environment, renewable energy, agriculture, comprehensive rural development, community tourism, defense of the rights of indigenous peoples, of women, of children, and of youth, among many others.
Offices located on 6 street 7-31 zone 1 , Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.
Or send them a message at email@example.com
Written by Yessika Calderón