Quetzaltenango is known Locally as Xela, (Pronounced "Shay-la")
Quetzaltenango is truly a beautiful city. Located high up in the Sierra Madres, at an elevation of 2,200
meters, Quetzaltenango is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, laced with narrow, cobblestone streets built for walking and filled with the colorful signs of Mayan culture. Xela is much more than simply a place to study Spanish. For many students it becomes a second home ....
Xela is a university
town, with one large state university (San Carlos de Guatemala), and six
private universities. Because of the large student population, both
Guatemalan and foreigners studying Spanish, Xela is dotted with coffee
shops and there is also an active night
life with clubs, billiards and bars.. There are also modern banks, grocery
stores, hotels, internet cafes, bakeries, movie theaters and restaurants.
Quetzaltenango there are old classical buildings and monuments. The
contrast between the old and the new is especially visible in the center of
the city around "Parque Central" and is what gives the city its charm.... And its all within easy easy walking distance, although if you like, micro buses and taxis offer a very convenient and affordable alternative for getting around.
Quetzaltenango, with a population of 250,000, is located
200km west of Guatemala City and is the commercial center for
southwest Guatemala. Xela is the second largest
city in Guatemala and one of the fastest growing cities in Central America. Although Quetzaltenango is located in the
mountains, it's only a 1 hour drive to the tropical pacific
At 2333 meters above
sea level, Xela's climate is idyllic. Temperatures year round average
70-80°F (21°C) during the daytime and 45°F(7°C) at night. Xela is green
all year round, although during the rainy season everything really comes
out into full bloom. Bring a heavy sweater for early morning as the nights
are chilly, but also plenty of short sleeved T-shirts to wear during the
While indigenous culture has no boundaries in Guatemala, Xela rightly claims to be at the heart of everything Maya, beautiful in its diversity. Xela is second most important commercial city in the country and is the place where people come from small villages, many miles away, in order to sell their goods in the market. Women in their traditional traje fit in just as easily as men wearing smart-looking suits and carrying briefcases.
While you study Spanish here, you will have tremendous opportunities to jump in the mix yourself. As a school, we try to take advantage of what the area has to offer, taking trips to Xunil to see the beautiful church there, or to different cooperatives where women work together to create products and better their lives. See Activities.
Another great opportunity of course is to get involved in Volunteering with any one of the many non-profit organizations in Xela. In this way, you'll be able to meet the people who collectively make up the vibrancy and color of Xela. See Photo Gallery for more images of Xela.
An invitation from El Mundo En Español to enjoy
the people, culture, and language of Guatemala!
- Enjoy Learning Spanish at El Mundo En Español -
8 Avenida Calle B, A-61 - Zona 1 - Quetzaltenango, Guatemala