Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala

The 7 Best Activities In Xela: Get Sweaty, Eat Donuts, Watch Football. Endless Fun!

Spend a day, spend a week, or spend a life here. Explore Xela by foot, hop on a chicken bus or flag down a collectivo. This second largest City in Guatemala will give you the biggest bear hug and will not let you go.



1. Peruse The Xela Markets

Whether you want to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, a boatload of toothpaste or just take photos, walking the numerous markets in Xela is a great way to spend an afternoon. Hop on any collectivo minivan and for 1.25Q they will drop you off at either Democracia or Minerva Markets. Don’t forget your shopping bag and bargaining skills. Have fun enjoying the liveliness!

2. Church of San Jacinto

The town of Salcajá, a one-hour bus ride from Xela, houses the oldest church in Central America – San Jacinto. The driver will let you off outside the bustling market and from here it’s only a 5-minute walk. It is best to ask for directions before you leave Xela or if your Spanish is top notch, ask when you hop off the bus. Although you can only visit the inside of the church for special events and holidays, taking exterior shots is well worth the bus journey. Plus, around the corner is a family home where you can taste and purchase Guatemala’s version of ‘moonshine.’ Ask any local as most will know of this hidden gem. After getting a bit tipsy, head back through the market and grab a bite to eat.

3. Cheer on Xelajú MC 

Grab a liter-sized beer, a foot long hot dog and cheer on the Superchivos at Estadio Mario Camposeco. This ain’t David Beckham level football, but the crowd is boisterous and the fireworks that barely shoot up more than a few meters from the seats are entertaining to watch. For 40Q ($6) it’s a great way to spend an evening in Xela immersing yourself in Guatemalan sporting culture.

4. Eat Donuts At Bake Shop

Next to Democracia Market is a tiny Amish Bake Shop that is only open Tuesday and Fridays. Fresh donuts with the most delectable fruit fillings, soft chewy cookies, and fresh goats milk can be purchased. For a few dollars, your belly will be thanking you for all the sugar you will devour.

5. Relax at Las Cumbres Eco-Sauna

Warm your body and mind at the saunas in the hills of Zunil. Brave the chicken bus ride (just kidding) and watch city life fade and the beautiful rolling hills of the countryside come into focus. Las Cumbres offers one hour sessions in their enclosed saunas. Melt away in the intense sulphuric steam than cool down in the showers provided. Bring a book and relax in their lounge as you take in the Xela mountain air. 7am-7pm, Q30/$4

6. Admire The Colorful Xela Buildings & Street Art

Are you a mural fanatic? Does street art get your creative juices flowing? Wander the streets of Xela and admire the colorful buildings and unique street art displays. You will take plenty of photos of yourself posing in front of them. Don’t worry, you won’t be the only one!

7. Learn Spanish At Utatlan Spanish School

Want to learn Spanish? Learn to cook Rellenitos? Take free salsa classes? Utatlan Spanish school next to Parque Central offers private classes, free cultural activities and home stays which won’t break your budget. Whether you spend a week in Xela brushing up on your Spanish or a month immersing yourself in the language, your Spanish will improve and lifelong friends will be made.


*Is there anything else you recommend? Comment below!*