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San Juan Acul

As you explore the mountain scenery and countryside around Nebaj, the traditional Maya village of Acul is worth at least an extra day’s stay on your itinerary.Acul was one of the may ‘model villages’ built in 1983 after government forces raided the countryside, burned down the original settlements and packed people into controlled areas in the hunt for revolutionaries and sympathisers . Families speaking as many as five different languages and practicing varied religions were forced to live together under constant surveillance. This now peaceful countryside tells a very different story today and since the Peace Accords were signed in 1996 work has been done, led by NGOs, to help this village forge its own path for the future.

At the entrance to Acul is Finca San Antonio, run by the Italian Azzari family (here since the late 1930s) who lend a certain European flavour to the village, furthered by the fact that they produce wheels of cheese on site and all against a backdrop of mountains reminiscent of Switzerland. You can stay at the Finca in wood cabins, $12-15 (shared/private bathroom) per person, or just call by for a taster. They also own Hacienda Mil Amores, a group of four delightful stone cottages with private bathrooms for around $50 per room. Meals are extra but they are tasty and wholesome and served up as a family. You can arrange horseback riding, hikes or visits to see the farm animals through both places. Tel: 502-5704-4817.

Posada Dona Magdelena is an excellent place to stay and popular among tourists, perhaps due to the friendly owner; a local lady who speaks Spanish, Ixil and English. There are dorms rooms available for $5 per person and doubles around $8 per person, all with shared bathroom. Meals are served in the family dining room with a flower garden out front. Tel: 502-5782-0891.

Getting to and away is pretty straight forward. If you take a guided trekking tour to the village it will take you about five hours (6 km /3.7 m) or about two hours if you make your own way. Catching a 4WD will take less than an hour, giving you more time to soak of the atmosphere in Acul. Ask at El Descanso for walking directions or a ride. Public mini buses/trucks also leave from the square.


Other places nearby San Juan Acul: San Juan Cotzal, Santiago Atitlan, Ixil, Santa Catarina Palopó, San Juan La Laguna, Tzununá, Chimaltenango , San Marcos La Laguna, Nebaj and Chichicastenango.

07 May 2010

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