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Chisec

A small, unattractive indigenous town in the middle of cardamom country, Chisec itself is of little interest to the traveler. It can be used as a base to visit Laguna Lachuá, and boasts a few nice caves and lakes nearby, though. But if you are going to the Caves of Candelaria, you are better off basing yourself in the even smaller, but friendlier town of Raxruha, just one hour further to the north-east. Chisec was founded in 1813 by groups mostly from the Q’eqchi’ highlands of Alta Verapaz. No proper road actually connected the town with the rest of Guatemala until 1976; before that, people had to walk more than one day through the jungle to get anywhere reachable by vehicle. In the early 1980s, it suffered from the war between the guerilla and the army and its militias, and many people were displaced. Now it is little more than one paved road, surrounded by a few shops and residential lots, and many very rural aldeas set in the nearby hills, where crops spring from a rich, red soil.

If you must stay in Chisec, you can use the services of the two banks, Banrural and Banco Agromercatil, both equipped with ATMs, buy a few basic products in the shops and at the market, or use the slow Internet for $1/hour in one of the two cybercafés (Superación, down by restaurant Don Miguel, or La Huella Digital, also on the main street, one block north of the central park). There are plenty of cheap eateries about, the best one being Cafeteria Mishel, half a block north of the central park, which serves decent dinners for $2. The one proper and clean restaurant in town is the Mini-Restaurant Don Miguel, housed in a funny orange hexagonal building, on the main street towards the exit to Raxruha (Tel: (502) 5156-7470). It serves a wide variety of breakfasts of eggs, waffles or traditional chapin for $2 to $3, chickens and meats for $3 to $4, as well as juices and soft drinks.

Unless you want to spend the night in the kind of place that looks like a truck-driver hotel, your only semi-decent option is the Estancia de la Virgen (Tel: (502) 5514-7444, E-mail: hotelestanciadelavirgen@gmail.com). You can hardly miss its massive bilious-yellow façade, since it is the only three-story construction in town, towering over the main road at the exit to Raxruha. It offers 50 rooms with private bathrooms and fans or A/C (singles $11.40, doubles $18), some already begging for a paint job and more zealous cleaning. There is a swimming pool surrounded by three-meter high statues of tyrannosauruses, probably their idea of a kiddie-friendly park. If you are on a shoestring budget and can close your eyes on stained walls and dank showers, the Hotel-Restaurant Los Nopales (Tel: (502) 5514-0624), on the east side of parque central, offers eight basic rooms in a low building for $5.

Chisec is manageable on foot, but if you feel lazy, tuk-tuks will take you around for $0.60.

One local community tourism association, the Agretuchi (Asociación Gremial de Turismo de Chisec), hidden away in a simple wooden house on lote 135 of the Barrio Centro, one block west behind the Distribuidora La Economica, can help organize tours to nearby caves and give you brochures. They can find guides or call ahead to reserve accommodation but their packages do not usually include transportation. Among the tours offered are Sepalau (1 day, $38 per person), B’omb’il Peq and tubing on Río San Simon ($45), Cuevas de Candelaria ($50), Cancuen ($36). Contact: Tel (502) 5978-1465, E-mail: agretuchi@yahoo.com.

(altitude: 350m)

Neighborhoods in Chisec: Around Chisec,

Other places nearby Chisec: Sierra De Las Minas Biosphere Reserve , Río Ikbolay, Cancuén, Rabinal, San Jerónimo, Cobán, Purulhá and the Corredor Biológico del Bosque Nuboso, Cubulco, San Rafael Chilascó and Parque Nacional Cuevas de Candelaria.







By Andrea Davoust
After more than two years of working and living out of a suitcase in Eastern Europe and in various improbable African countries that no-one has ever...
07 Dec 2009

Things to do in Chisec

Cuevas de B’ombi’l Peq

136640The cave of B’ombi’l Peq can be explored on a proper rappelling and speleological adventure, squeezing into the narrow holes that lead into a chamber with wall paintings. Organize through ...
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Around Chisec, Chisec, Guatemala
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