Guatemala's East


Global Mark : 13.75

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Tradition Market Relax Fiesta 


 4 3 4 5 1 4 1 3 12.50

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
1 100% 100% 100% 15 15.00

Description :
A tiny village by bananas plantations and the Quirigua ruins, listed by UNESCO as a World's Heritage site. 

Comments : The village see little tourists and this is another good reason to spend some time there...

What to do ? Say hello to the staring locals / Walk along an old rail track / Spot tons of bananas (Del Monte plantations) / Admire 9 great stelaes, the tallest in the Maya world (up to nearly 11 meters for 65 tons), depicting the city's rulers / Try to figure out what of the 6 zoomorphs (strange massive blocks of stones) represents a jaguar, a turtle or a frog / Back in the village, play pools or head toward a bar / Alternatively, walk the charming countryside or head toward bigger Los Amates... 

What you may not like ? Being the walking attraction maybe / Not finding good bananas at the market ! / Not having much to do after you visited the ruins / The mosquitoes / The rather high ratio of drinking spot per habitants / 

How long ? One day would be just fine. 

Where to stay ? Three places in this tiny place but only one good quality-price ratio :

  • Hotel Y Restaurante Royal, the first place you will pass by, 5mn walk from the main road / 30 p.p. or 45 p.p. w. shower / The cheapest rooms have no fan nor window. The more expensive are OK. 
  • Hotel El Eden, another 5mn down, by the market and the old train station / 36(1) or 55(2), w. shower 75(1) or 100(2) / Nice rooms w. fan but expensive for what you get and no discount possible ! Could also be noisy if busy (not likely) as thin walls. 
  • Hospedaje ???, opp. the above, along the rail track, just before the police office, no name / 15 p.p / The rooms are basic with iron beds and no fan but they are good & clean enough for the price asked. Family atmosphere plus the unfortunate barking dog & boosting rooster mean that it is not really quiet. 

Where to eat ? A few comedores. Comedor Nineth (the last house one on the right from the above hospedaje) charges Q10 for the correct basic meal and they have a cable TV !

Other ? Not much around. Head to Los Amates for your shopping !

The ruins of Quirigua ? This is one of the best spot, with Copan in Honduras, to see Maya carvings and, what is more, the way toward it and the setting itself are lovely. From the village, walk 10mn along the rail track, turn right at the road, and continue within the bananas reserve for about 40mn (regular transports as well if too hot). The site is free for locals but cost Q25 for foreigners. A bit expensive considering the size... Inside, disseminated on a well maintained grass are a dozens of big stones covered with delicate glyphs and Maya figures. In the back are the disappointing remains of the acropolis (at least compared to massive Tikal). Behind, the jungle is worth a short walk. For cultural info about the place, check the board at the entrance. And for colorful souvenirs, check the stalls ! The site is open daily from 7:30 to 17. 

 << Discover the ruins & stelaes

The trip to Chiquimula :
SSS / Left / Q12 / 2 hrs
I did not have to wait long in Los Amates. The bus from Puerto Barrios showed up at 7:30, unfortunately full. I managed to squeeze myself in the back, between girls and two very dynamics & smiling kids. Most people got off at the town of Zacapa, half an hour before reaching busy Chiquimula. 
The mountains scenery was really nice, especially (but not exclusively) on the left side.

See also the trip from Livingston