As you speed downhill toward Zunil from Quetzaltenango, you'll see this pretty market town spreading across a lush valley framed by steep hills and dominated by a towering volcano, its white colonial church gleaming above the red-tiled roofs of the low houses. A road on the left bridges a river and, 1km further, reaches Zunil's plaza.
Founded in 1529, Zunil is a typical Guatemalan highland town, where traditional indigenous agriculture is practiced. The cultivated plots, divided by stone fences, are irrigated by canals; you'll see the farmers scooping up water with a shovel-like instrument and tossing it over their plants. Women wash their clothes near the river bridge in pools of hot water that come out of the rocks.