Quetzaltenango is big, like its name – which the locals kindly shorten to Xela (shell-ah), itself an abbreviation of the original Quiché Maya name, Xelajú – but by Guatemalan standards, it is an orderly, clean and safe city. It tends to attract a more serious type of traveler – people who really want to learn Spanish and then stay around and get involved in the myriad volunteer projects on offer.

Xela also functions as a base for a range of spectacular hikes through the surrounding countryside – the ascent to the summit of Volcán Tajumulco (Central America's highest point) and the three-day trek to Lago de Atitlán,to name a few.

Refugio del Quetzal

You do not have to go far away from Quetzaltenango to visit one of the sanctuaries of Guatemala's national bird.

This is a unique experience to admire the mysterious Quetzal living in its natural environment of a beautiful rainforest. The village is about 1 ½ hrs by private transport from Quetzaltenango. Binoculars are provided as well as breakfast.


Availability Every day
Departure times 05:00 am
Departure point Your hotel/address
Duration Approx. 5 hours
Price 63 USD - minimum 2 persons

Return transport from Quetzaltenango

  Local guide
  Entrance fees

+10 USD per group for an English-speaking guide