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After San Mateo Ixtatán the land drops again towards Barillas and the road east towards the Ixcán and on to Playa Grande. Barillas is a scruffy ladino frontier town with a population of around 14000 and at 1554 meters above sea level it is also warmer.

As a traveller the only reason to visit Barillas is to pass through on your way between Alta Verapaces and the Highlands. That said, if you do decide to come this way and need to stay over there are a few hotels, such as the Hotel Quetzal near the square, and a few places to eat. Furthermore, it is still an interesting place to see, if only in contrast to nearby traditional Mam towns and will help to complete your picture of Guatemala.

There are around seven buses daily from Huehuetenango. The trip takes about six hours as the roads are in poor condition and the bus stops at every village on the way. To Playa Grande unscheduled pick-ups make the five/six-hour journey. In the rainy season journeys take longer or are impossible.

You could also ask in town about a pick-up going towards Laguna Maxbal, a beautiful lake about 20 kilometers (12.5 m) north of Barillas.



Other places nearby Barillas: San Mateo Ixtatan, Quetzaltenango , Todos Santos Cuchumatan, Gracias A Dios, Cuatro Caminos, Huehuetenango, Nentón, San Mateo Ixtatán, Totonicapán and Momostenango.

By Joanne Sykes

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

28 Dec 2009

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