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Totonicapán is a laid-back, medium sized city located in Guatemala’s central-western highlands not far from the much larger city of Quetzaltenango. It’s name is derived from a nahuatl word meaning “hot springs” and there are, in fact, some hot springs nearby. During the colonial era, the people of Totonicapán and its surroundings were famous for their frequent uprisings and rebellions. The most famous of these occurred in 1820, when local indigenous leaders gathered together a mob of supporters and took over the local government, announcing their decision to secede from the rest of Guatemala. The rebellion lasted about 20 days before it was put down. Things have quieted down since then, however, and today “Toto” is a friendly, accessible place.

Most of those visiting the area bypass Totonicapán entirely, heading instead to Quetzaltenango or up to Huehuetenango on their way to Todos Santos or the Mexican border. It is true that there is not much to see and to in Totonicapán, but if you’re a shopper, you should make it a point to come visit. Much of the handicrafts, such as belts, scarves, etc. that are sold in other places throughout Guatemala (such as Antigua and Panajachel) are actually made in this area: the market in Totonicapán has a good selection of these items, at very reasonable prices.  The market itself is bustling, colorful and very interesting. If you want an authentic native market without all of the gringo-fications of Antigua, this is your place.


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

By Christopher Minster
I am a writer and editor at V!VA Travel guides here in Quito, where I specialize in adding quality content to the site and also in spooky things like...
19 Oct 2007

Things to do in Totonicapán

Volcan Cuxliquel

145650Not a very wellknown climb .. between corn and wheat .... getting from the Interamerican highway near km.180 to a ceremonial place ... at 2160 meters above sealevel ... a nice two hour hike (1 hr up ...
Totonicapán , Guatemala
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