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Town Overview

Although Chiquimula’s alias, “The Pearl of the Orient,” may not be entirely justified, it nonetheless holds enough to interest a visitor. It is mainly known by travelers as a transit point en route to the famous Mayan ruins in nearby Copán, Honduras. With a population of about 305,682 people, Chiquimula was known as a market town since the colonial period, where it was a major stop along the Camino Real trade route. At about 424 meters above sea level, the town is very compact and easily walkable even in the dripping humidity. It is home to some pleasant, shady parks, the most popular being Parque Ismael Cerna, which contains some impressive statues and a bandstand where live music can often be heard. There is also plenty of handsome colonial-era architecture to be seen, such as the centuries-old primary school Nacional Instituto y Escuela Normal de Varones de Oriente, which houses a natural history museum containing a variety of local fauna, fossils, and even some archaeological pieces.

While Chiquimula doesn’t offer many options in the way of nightlife and lodging, there are a few decent hotels and restaurants in the area. Hotel Dario (Tel.: 502-942-0192) charges about $3 a night for a bed in a dorm, and while the rooms are rather bare and damp, the staff is friendly and the locks work. For $13-18 a night you can upgrade to Hotel Posada Don Adán, which boasts private bathrooms, cable TV, and balconies for each room (Tel.: 502-942-0549.)

There isn’t much to say about Chiquimula's gastronomy except that it is cheap and, more often than not, fried. Pupuseria Guanachapi ( 3a Calle and 8a Avenida) serves up some tasty el Salvadorian meals, while at Minuto 90, located opposite the Plaza Campanario, you can dine on hearty servings of traditional fare and catch a movie afterwards at the adjacent cinema. Although not the greatest tourist destination in Guatemala, Chiquimula will not disappoint if you decide to stop over for a night or two.










31 Aug 2010






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