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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.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Western Highlands.