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Chimaltenango sits just inside the regional department of the same name, taken from Nahuatl meaning ‘place of shields’. The town straddles the CA-1 highway (Carretera Interamericana Uno) at Km54 from Guatemala City heading west to Huehuetenango. A grimy, congested place made up mainly of car workshops and basic comedores flanking each side of the highway, there’s not much here to persuade any tourist to hang around. It is however a transport hub and the place to make a connection for anyone taking a chicken bus west from Guatemala or Antigua. If you end up having a few hours to kill get off the main through road and turn north towards the main town.


Things to See and Do

The town’s high street is 1a Calle, two blocks north of the highway, which is where you will also find the much calmer central plaza, providing some respite from the hustle and bustle of the town. There is also a busy market around 3a Calle, two blocks father north of the high street. It’s not a very inspiring place to shop, and being near the bus terminal there is a lot of coming and going, so it is a good idea to keep a close eye on your possessions.


The festival of Santa Ana, the mother of the Virgin Mary and the patron saint of Chimaltenango, is celebrated every year between July 20 and 30, the main day being the 26th.


The main street features more than six banks (BAM with Western Union, Banco Aztea, Ban Rural, Banco de Antigua, Banco Proamerica and Citibank), so the town's a good place to stock up on Queztales.


Halfway down the high street there is a Bodegona supermarket, Farmacia Los Angeles and Café Speedy for the Internet.



If you do want to spend the night here there are plenty of hotels, but most are quite questionable in quality. A tuk-tuk ride away out of town in Parramos is the country inn La Posada de mi Abuelo. It offers mid-range rooms for around $27, all with fireplaces, hot-water, T.V. and a restaurant service. Mountain biking, horse riding and country walks can be arranged. Tel: 502-78495930, 502-78499235, 502-5510-5973, E-mail:, URL:


In town, Hotel Posada de Don Jorge offers private bathrooms and cable T.V. for under $10. 3a Av. 2-54.



At the eastern end of the high street you’ll find a drive-in Pollo Campero and nearby a Burger King and McDonalds. On the main strip there are quite a few cafes such as El Pan Quotidiana, Comidas D’Marta, as well as the Chinese restaurant Jon Wan.


Getting To and Away from Chimaltenango

To take a bus east or west along the CA1 you can flag a bus down along the highway through the center of Chimaltenango. Buses for Antigua exit the highway here so make sure wait before the turn-off. If you prefer to get a ticket and wait in the terminal rather than on the road-side, the bus terminal is right by the market.

Neighborhoods in Chimaltenango : San Juan Comalapa,

Other places nearby Chimaltenango : Santa Catarina Palopó, Sololá, Sacapulas, Tzununá, Chajul, San Juan Acul, San Juan La Laguna, San Antonio Papoló, Santa Cruz Del Quiche and San Pedro La Laguna.

By Joanne Sykes

Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Jo is currently working as a freelance travel writer in Latin America. With degrees in...

14 Sep 2009

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