Guatemala's Center

NEBAJ (IXIL TRIANGLE)

Global Mark : 13.70

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Tradition Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
 3 5 1 3 3 4 2 4 12.50

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
10 100% 60%(6) 100% 12 to 18 14.90


Description :
A gray town in a green environment

Comments : The rather big town has little appeal but the surroundings are lovely.

What to do ? Walk the market and have a look at the church / Try to understand why some guidebooks refer to Nebaj as a 'beautiful old town' / Visit a weaving fabric / Walk the beautiful countryside / Visit the other villages of the triangle, if possible during market day 

What you may not like ? Your first impressions of the town : it is not the charming little village you had imagined ! / The confusing streets / The dusty roads of the countryside : look for the trees covered with dust ! / The unreliable transport info / The lack of regular transport to the other villages / The late dogs and early roosters / 

How long ? A few days for the walks

Where to stay ? Kids will wait for you at the bus station and offer you a selection of places. It would be fine to follow them except that they do not always know what they are talking about : I was offered a Q15 room with attached shower (rather difficult to believe indeed) to find a Q18 room without shower. The following may be therefore more helpful :

  • Hotel Ixil, on the road to Sacapulas / Q18 per person / Go there for the huge rooms, the charming colonial house & the tiny garden / What you may not like : a bit run-down and lack of furniture (beds only)
  • Hotel Posada De Don Pablo, one block south of Church / Sgl 30, Room w. shower 40-50(1) or 60-70(2) / Go there for a bit of luxury / What you may not like : the too exp Sgl for what you get !
  • Hotel Nebajense, 4 C. 5 Av. / Q18 per person / Go there for the central location and clean concrete rooms / What you may not like : the setting is not too exciting ! 
  • Hospedaje Experanza, orange house / Q15-18 per person / Very basic rooms w. wood partitions under the roof 
  • Hotel Casa Shalom, on the road to Chajul / Room w. satellite TV & shower 54(1) or 100(2) / Go there if you crave for TV but the rooms are fairly empty. 
  • Hospedaje El Viajero, pink house opp. petrol station, continuing after the above, 3mn from plaza / Q15 per person / HW 5pm to 6am / Go there for the OK bright rooms, the view from the first floor, the traditional sauna and the good price / What you may not like : the gas station is lighted & active all night long and the rooms have a window toward that ugly side only. 
  • Hotel Llebal Tenam, further down the road to Chajul, 5mn from plaza / Sgl 18, Dbl 42, w. shower 42(1) or 72(2) / Go there for the nice & clean setting and the good showers / What you may not like : the Sgl are real tiny with slim wood partitions & low roof and the other rooms a bit pricey
  • Hospedaje Las Clavellinas, 0a C, 3 Av, turn left before Hotel Casa Shalom, then right and continue on 3 Av up to the end of the village, 5mn away / Q15 per person / Go there for the nice & clean rooms & house, the relative isolation and the family atmosphere / What you may not like : the relative isolation ?

Where to eat ? Plenty of reasonably priced comedores in town plus snacks around the market. 

Banks ? Bancafe (2 Av 46) can change cash and TC. Banrural changes only cash. 

Internet ? Right by Bancafe. Q20 per hour or Q5 per 15mn. 

A Waterfall walk ? This charming 45mn walk to La Cascada de Plata is a classic : take the road to Chajul and turn left just before the tiny bridge. Then follow the river, full of rubbish and detergent (moss everywhere) until you reach the 30m or so high waterfall. It smells the laundry but is impressive nevertheless. For a little bit more adventure, you could climb the tiny path on the right of it. Do not worry : you won't have to slide the same way down as you can get back to the road from the top. 

A walk to Acul Village ? This charming village is about 1.5 hours away. Take the road going downhill from Hotel Posada de Don Pablo. At the bottom, take the right road (there is a sign) and go up for about 45mn. You will get a great view from Nebaj. The road is then flat for 10mn and then go down on the other side of the mountain toward the village. It is worth wandering around but the only place of interest is the Finca San Antonio, on the way out of the village, which produces some great cheese (for sale). From there, take the 10km flat road to Nebaj via another beautiful way (transports available as well if tired).

Markets ? The small market gets bigger in Nebaj on Thursday & Sunday. If you visit the other villages, try to coincidate with market days, as transportation will be better. Cotzal is on Wednesday & Saturday and Chajul on Tuesday & Friday. 

 << Discover two aspects of Nebaj


Leaving ?
There is one direct bus to Huehuetenango (Q17, 4.5 hrs) but it presently leave at 1:45am ! Most people heading west therefore go to Sacapulas (every hour from 3 to 7am plus 11am, Q6, 1.5 hrs) and try to get a pick-up from there. Same thing if heading toward Coban. For the South, there are a few direct buses to Quiche, via Sacapulas, in the early morning and at around 11am. 

The trip back to Sacapulas : SSS / R & L / Q6 / 2 hours
The trip started at 5:30 by physically pushing the bus to wake up the sleeping engine. I had been told that the bus would leave at 6 or 6:30. It left near empty at 5:45. 
The best panoramas were supposed to be on the left but, at this time, everything was covered with fog. You might therefore enjoy the right side as much. 
I needed info - How much is it to Qiche ? - Q15. - And to Sacapulas ? - Q10. Well try but I knew that the price was Q6 only. The extra Q4 was maybe for the morning pushing exercise ? This was my first tentative of bus rip-off : not all the buses' staff were honest after all...
It actually took a bit longer to go down than go up : 1h45. It is true that any kind of speed would be moderately appreciated on this dangerous road. Doing it in the middle of the night really does not look like a great idea... 
If going to Uspantan, you may ask to get off at the crossroad, about 45mn before reaching Sacapulas.