Quetzaltenango is called Xela (Shay-la) by almost everyone, including its K’iche Mayan citizens ….
Quetzaltenango is the second largest city in Guatemala and the commercial center of Southwestern Guatemala. Xela is located 200 km west of Guatemala-city and is approximately 2,200 meters above sea level with a population of around 150,000.
Surrounded by mountains on all sides and towering over the city to the south is the 3,772 m Santa María volcano, with the active 2,488 m Santa Aguito volcano on its southwestern flank. Located in the Highlands, Xela’s geography and location makes an excellent base for inspiring Day Trips to natural hot springs, lakes and traditional villages with their colorful markets.
In recent years Xela has built a worldwide reputation for its Spanish-language schools. Many students prefer the Spanish schools in Xela because the environment here more closely approaches the total immersion ideal for language study.
Xela is a good-size city but surprisingly manageable and easy to get around. In Quetzaltenango you will find inexpensive internet, a wide selection of restaruants, cafés, bars, night-clubs, cinemas and theatres….
“Cafe Baviera” (5a Calle 13-14, Zona 1) for good coffee “Cafe Las Calas” (14 Av A 3-21, Zona 1) with a quiet patio
“Cafe La Luna” ( 8a Av 4-11, Zona 1)
“Casa Babilon” (5a Calle & 13a Av, Zona 1) for good salads “Pizza Cardinali” (14a Av 12-22, Zona 1) for Italian food
“Royal Paris” ( 15a Av A 3-06, Zona 1)
“Salon Tecun” (Pasaje Enrique, Zona 1) meet fellow travelers
The discotheques are mostly located on 15 Avenida starting from the Theater and on down the hill.
For movies check out Cine Sofia and Cinema Paraiso.
There is also a modern movie theater (5) in the North American style mall, Hiper Paiz.
See Getting Around for information on getting to Xela.