A volcano in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala through a hole in a brick wall.

©Ivan Castro/500px

Western Highlands

The mountainous departments of Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán and Huehuetenango are generally less visited by tourists than regions closer to Guatemala City. But with extraordinarily dramatic scenery and vibrant indigenous culture, this part of the country presents an invariably fascinating panorama. Highlights of any visit include Quetzaltenango ('Xela' for short), Guatemala's second-largest city, with an ever-growing language school and volunteer work scene; the nearby town of Zunil, with its volcanically heated springs and Maya deity; ascents of the volcanoes around Quetzaltenango; and the remote mountain enclave of Todos Santos Cuchumatán, north of Huehuetenango, with a strong traditional culture and excellent walking possibilities.


Must-see attractions for your itinerary


Latest stories from Western Highlands

Filter by interest:


Discover Guatemala’s cultural history

Nov 16, 2017 • 7 min read


Purchase our award-winning guidebooks

Get to the heart of Western Highlands with one of our in-depth, award-winning guidebooks, covering maps, itineraries, and expert guidance.

Go Beyond

Western Highlands and beyond