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Santa Cruz Del Quiche

At 2012 meters (6061 ft) above sea level, in the southwestern Sierra de ChuacĂșs, Santa Cruz del QuichĂ© is the capital of the El QuichĂ© region and of the municipality of the Santa Cruz del QuichĂ©. The population is around 21,000 and made up mainly of the K’iche’ and Ladinos. The town serves as a central market point for the surrounding villages, which cultivate maize and beans and raise livestock. Santa Cruz is also an academic center, with both the University of San Carlos Guatemala City and the Academy of Mayan Languages having established campuses here.

The town was founded in 1539 by Pedro de Alvarado, right-hand man of Hernan CortĂ©s. However, at least one hundred years before that, the K’iche King Gucumatz chose an area four kilometers (2.5 mi) west of town for the site of the Mayan capital Ku’markaaj (or UtatlĂĄn in Nauatl). Alvarado burned down the entire city, reducing the K’iche rulers to peasant status. It is said that the church in the town plaza was built by Dominican friars out of the Ku’markaaj stones.

More recently, Quiché, as it is known, and the surrounding area suffered greatly during years of internal conflict. The army barracks in the center of town is a reminder of those difficult times.

Santa Cruz del QuichĂ© is quite a small town, so restaurants, cafĂ©s, shops and hotels are all within walking distance. There are a few hotels to choose from, most in the budget category, and mainly comedores or cafĂ©s for food. Once it gets dark some food stalls around the square stay open for a while but the town center does get quiet, and there isn’t much to do in the evening. The main attraction for tourists visiting Santa Cruz del QuichĂ© is, without a doubt, the nearby K’iche Mayan ruins. As the regional capital, Santa Cruz has good transport links to the north and south and serves as a transport hub for the Ixil Triangle.


Other places nearby Santa Cruz Del Quiche: Jaibalito, Ixil, Santiago Atitlan, San Juan La Laguna, San Juan Cotzal, San Juan Acul, Panajachel, Santa Cruz La Laguna, Sacapulas and San Lucas TolimĂĄn.

By Joanne Sykes

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

18 Sep 2009

Things to do in Santa Cruz Del Quiche


137327The ruins of K’umarkaaj, or ‘Place of Reeds’, the ancient Mayan capital renamed UtatlĂĄn by the Spanish, are the main draw for tourists stopping off in Santa Cruz del QuichĂ©, 2.5 kilometers ...
Santa Cruz Del Quiche, Guatemala
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