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West from Lake Atitlán, a mountainous landscape separates many small market towns and villages, a physical barrier that allows each to develop and maintain its own character and culture.

The region is beautiful, with small, intricate fields patched onto steep slopes, farmed by communities with little contact with the outside world. A little way off the beaten track, this area is well worth a visit.


The city of Quetzaltenango (commonly known as Xela) is a great base: it’s modern but with a relaxed fresh feel, and a lovely square with a beautifully restored façade of the old colonial church.

If you are especially keen on markets take time to visit the famous San Francisco El Alto’s Friday livestock market. It’s a fight among the locals but an intriguing experience as they set about bargaining for the produce they need for the week.

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Suggested itinerary featuring Western Highlands

This sample itinerary will give you an idea of what is possible when you travel in Western Highlands, and showcases routes we know work particularly well. Treat this as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Western Highlands

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Western Highlands

    Accommodation choices for Western Highlands

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Western Highlands. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.