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Marooned amid the spectacular Eastern Highlands, you'll find Jalapa, a fairly well-off town with plenty of shops and restaurants but nothing much to see by way of tourist attractions. Nor is there much else around Jalapa, being surrounded by farming fields of cattle, maize, tobacco and sugarcane. Stopping here is only really necessary if you’re looking for somewhere to break a long journey but if you do it is pleasant enough place for a stroll around and a good meal and the locals are pretty friendly.


The street names used here are very confusing so the best thing to do is start on the main street, called 1a Calle, and from where you’ll come across what Jalapa has to offer: Mr Cool Internet café ($0.60 per hour, closed Saturday); Banco de Antigua, Ban Trab and Banrural; Farmacias Batres (open 24 hours – look for the small service window); Post Office; dentist; hospital; market; plus plenty of places to eat and a few hotels.


Family-friendly Hotel Casa del Viajero ($3-15 1a Av. 0-64, Tel: 502-7922-4086/2371) is a satisfactory budget option. Some rooms have private baths and T.V. There is a basic cafeteria on the premises.

The Casa Real ($14-20, Av. Chipilapa ‘A’ 1-03, Tel: 502-7922-2804/7417).is Jalapa's mid-range option. It is a fully fledged hotel complete with room service, restaurant and roof terrace. Rooms have free WiFi, plasma T.V.s, private bathrooms, fans and even swan shaped towel arrangements. Dollars and quetzales are accepted, as well as credit cards (with a 7% fee). The restaurant ($2-6.50) serves typical Guatemala fare and some international dishes in a typical, hotel-restaurant setting. The restaurant is wheelchair-accessible, as are some rooms in the hotel, and has a relaxed family-friendly feel.


Along Jalapa's main street, 1a Calle, there are a number of eateries including a great churros bar painted bright pink, a frozen yogurt bar, the Cafeteria Casa Contenta Chinese restaurant, Los Amigos on the corner near Hotel Viajero and ‘Taco Central’ by the square. Pizza Burger Diner serves breakfasts, pastas, salads, chicken, fish and churrascos as well as its namesake dishes. It’s a clean and bright American style diner with a children’s play area, free WiFi and 2 for 1 pizza Wednesdays and Fridays. Open daily 7a.m. – 10p.m. 1a Calle, between streets Chipilapa and Chipilapa ‘A’, Tel: 502-7922-7798.

Getting To and Away

There are regular buses to Jalapa from Guatemala City, three hours, which take one of two different routes either passing by Sanarate in the north or Jutiapa in the south. Buses also go to Chiquimula via Ipala, three hours. Jalapa’s grimy bus terminal in behind the market on 1a Calle ‘A’.


Other places nearby Jalapa: Zacapa, Quiriguá, Río Lámpara , Río Hondo, Around Puerto Barrios, Chiquimula, Livingston, Estanzuela, Esquipulas and Jutiapa.

By Joanne Sykes

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

11 May 2010

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