Chiquimula is a hot, dry departmental capital located at the junction of highways CA-10 and 12. The local economy is mainly focused around mining, tobacco farms and government. Unless you have pressing business with the local municipal authorities your time spent in Chiquimula will most likely consist of transferring buses en route to CopĂˇn or Guatemala City. However if you are feeling curious or simply want to get out of the bus to stretch your legs there are enough interesting sites in town and in the surrounding areas to make this an interesting day trip.
The nearby village of Ipala features the 1650m VolcĂˇn de Ipala, an extinct volcanic crater with a clear 3.5km wide lake. Although much of the water from the lake has been siphoned off in recent years by nearby villages it still makes for a spectacular site. The ascent up the volcano will take you about 2 hours by foot although you can do half the distance by foot. Buses leave every half hour or so from Chiquimula.
The town itself features a couple of interesting architectural sites including the now abandoned EstaciĂłn de Ferrocarril at 4a Calle, deserted since the mid-80`s and the ruins of a colonial era baroque church destroyed during the 1765 earthquake.
Although there is nothing in town to warrant a 5 star Michelin review Chiquimula does offer enough choices in the low to mid price range that you shouldnâ€™t find yourself subsisting on Oreo`s or sleeping in the street during your (probably) brief stay in Chiquimula.
Telephone code: 7942
When to go
Located in the tropics the area around Chiquimula is hot and dry for most of the year. Summertime temperatures can routinely reach into the 90`s, with the humidity often kicking it up another 10 degrees. The rainy season lasts from roughly May-November but mini-droughts in July and August are not unheard of.
Transport to and from
Located near the junction of highways CA-9 and 10, travel to and from Chiquimula is straightforward. Several bus companies offer hourly service to Guatemala City and Puerto Barrios from the bus terminal at 1a Calle between 10a and 11a Avenidas. In addition minibuses departing every half-hour serve the smaller communities of Esquipulas, RĂo Hondo, Ipala and the Salvadoran border crossing at AnguiatĂş. A separate terminal, one block north, handles service to the CopĂˇn ruins in Honduras, with departures every 45 minutes.
When in Chiquimula use the same common sense procedures you would use when traveling through any Latin American country. Donâ€™t wander the streets with your giant backpack looking for a hotel, pick something next to the bus station or grab a taxi to your destination. Avoid walking alone at night and avoid public intoxication at all costs. Robberies usually donâ€™t turn violent as long as you donÂ´t resist, handover whatever is demanded immediately. Remember, anything that you have can be replaced. Secure any documents including credit cards in a money belt along with most of your cash. Keep a small wade of paper money in your pocket so you have something with which to placate a robber. Any electronic equipment including cell phones, cameras and laptops should be kept with you at all times, do not allow a backpack containing these items to be checked into the baggage compartment on a bus.