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About Quetzaltenango (Xela)

Our Spanish school is located high up in the Sierra Madre mountains at 2,200 meters above sea level in a city called Quetzaltenango (also referred to as Xela, a Mayan contraction of the name Xelaju).

Quetzaltenango (population 150,000) is located 200km west of Guatemala City and is the commercial center for southwest Guatemala. Quetzaltenango is surrounded by breathtaking volcanoes, mountains, natural hot springs, and indigenous villages. Although Quetzaltenango is located in the mountains, it is only a 1 hour drive to the tropical pacific coast.

Quetzaltenango is a colonial town settled by the Conquistadores and surrounded by mist-covered mountains, the Santa Maria volcano and the active Santiaguito volcano. Quetzaltenango is called Xelaju or simply Xela (shay-lay) by almost everyone, including its Quiche Maya citizens who still use this original Quiche name for the site where the Spanish conquistadores built their city.

Quetzaltenango is the commerial center of Southwestern Guatemala. It is the center of the Quiche Maya people and the second largest city of Guatemala. In town, visitors will find services and accommodations while those that wish to get out to explore the mountains will find numerous eco-tourism organizations offering hiking and camping treks through the mountains, complete with all the necessary gear and professional, experienced guides.

Entertainment: There are various concerts, night clubs, internet cafes, theatres, cafes, churches, footbol games, parks, and gyms available in Quetzaltenango for your enjoyment.

Near Quetzaltenango are the hot springs of "Fuentes Georginas". The road leading to the hot springs passes through lush plots of agriculture and tranquil scenes of farmers, and sheer drop-offs along the passage create awe-inspiring views of the valley below. At the end of the road you will find the hot springs and a restaurant. Also in the area are two blown glass factories, where locals continue the artful tradition of glass blowing creating beautiful products that are available for sale in giftshops throughout the country.

The Climate

Climate: Enjoy a refreshing mountain climate that is bearable in the winter. Summer temperatures range from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius (65 to 75 F). The rainy season is September and October. Winter Temperatures during the day range from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 70 F) and the nights drop down to freezing or below. Heating nor air conditioning are provided in the homes.

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