Mountain views surround Quetzaltenango, the second city of Guatemala, which sits in the western highlands. Xela, as locals call it, combines the likes of the towering Santa María volcano with scenic bars and restaurants to make for an unforgettable destination. Prices needn’t rise as high as the landscape, however – make the most of your trip by staying at one of these excellent budget hotels and hostels, bookable on Culture Trip.
Barely 500m (1,640ft) from Parque Central, the pared-back, tile-floored dorms of Kasa Kiwi are perfect for sociable travellers. As well as peaceful outside spaces – including a verdant patio and a roof terrace with skyline views, a ping-pong table and cosy, light-strung bar. Take a trip to the imposing Santa María volcano, or keep things closer to base with a poke around the Espiritú Santo Cathedral, opposite the hostel.
If you’re looking for somewhere cosy, convivial and light on frills, this city centre hostel nails the brief. Rooms are arranged around a central, fairy light-filled courtyard, and each has its own quirk – whether split-level, with a second bed hovering on a mezzanine, or with exposed brick peeking through the flaking plaster. Spend time at the buzzy bar, which serves up local craft beers and excellent chicken tamales.
What can be better than finding a peaceful spot to flick through your guidebooks before setting out for the day? With its tiled patios, hammock-strung central courtyard and wooden-floored living room, you’re spoiled for choice in Casa Seibel. Alternatively, just pop round the corner to the Parque Central, where you can plan your day out with a coffee from one of the nearby cafes.
Bold, colorful artwork and immaculate bathrooms with deep, freestanding tubs characterise this boutique hotel. Rise early for a spot in the fairy-light-strung walled garden, where a breakfast of eggs, black beans and fried plantain is served up in the cool morning air. Full up yet? Head out to the Central Plaza for a spot of people-watching, or step into the Espiritú Santo Cathedral for a moment of calm.
You’ll have a good night’s sleep in the Kasa Kamelot thanks to its choice of private double rooms as well as the standard dorm set-up. Colourful bedspreads and an abundance of house plants keep things cosy, while being only a stone’s throw from the Parque Centro América means city exploration couldn’t be easier. After a day of sightseeing, kick back with a round of locally brewed craft beers in the hotel’s cheery bar.
Covers made from local fabric top off comfy beds to give a warm welcome in this historic, traveller-friendly hotel. Rooms on the upper floors max out on stellar views of the mountainous horizon close to the leafy Parque Centro América. Some have cosy armchairs for decompressing after a busy day exploring the city’s Neoclassical architecture and cultural institutions.
Think hotels are more your thing? See the best hotels in Quetzaltenango or the best hotels in the country’s capital, Guatemala City, now bookable via Culture Trip. If you want to go further, why not explore Guatemala’s creative scene and visit the nearby Mayan Murals of San Juan La Laguna, or hear about the women-only indigenous co-op weaving to protect its community.
This is a rewrite of an article originally by Patrick Foot.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.