Where to stay in Quetzaltenango, or Xela as the town is called by locals? The ultimate place to stay in Xela is the best boutique hostel in Guatemala. As one of the least visited destinations in Guatemala, Quetzaltenango is not yet on the tourist radar and therefore does not have an overwhelming selection of luxury hotels, hip hostels and boutique hotels. Yet the city offers one of the best places to stay in Guatemala and there are also some great alternatives if this hotel is fully booked. Continue reading for the best place to stay Quetzaltenango and it’s alternatives.
How to get to Quetzaltenango in Guatemala
Quetzaltenango is located in western Guatemala, where it is surrounded by mountains and volcanic peaks. It is known as a university town and is full of Spanish schools and universities. The border with Mexico is not far away. So if you are traveling to both Mexico and Guatemala, it makes sense to cross the border before or after visiting Xela. San Cristobal in Mexico is then the first tourist destination on your route.
In Guatemala the nearest tourist destination to Quetzaltenango is Lake Atitlan. Direct shuttles are offered for travelers from the villages surrounding the lake of Atitlan, but you can also easily travel by Uber or very cheaply with the local chicken bus. Are you a hiking enthusiast? Then the three-day hike from Lake Atitlan to Quetzaltenango (or vice versa) should be on your bucket list!
If you are traveling from other destinations in Guatemala, there are easy options to get to Xela as well. From Guatemala City, long-distance buses from the organizations Transportes Alamos and Linea Dorada will take you to Xela in 4.5 hours. From Antigua you can book a shared minivan.
Why Quetzaltenango is worth visiting
The city of Quetzaltenango – also called Xela – will probably rarely be included in itineraries for Guatemala. The second city of the country may not be a bustling metropolis and certainly not a tourist destination, but that is precisely why we would recommend you to visit Xela. At this off-the-beaten-track town, you can experience the more authentic city life of Guatemala, while being surrounded by beautiful landscapes for great day trips.
Read more: best things to do in Quetzaltenango.
The best thing to do in Quetzaltenango is visiting the volcanoes in the area. To us, the volcanoes are the main reason to visit Xela. The city is a great base for lovers of nature and hikes, with climbing one of Guatemala’s impressive volcanoes being the absolute highlight. You can go on a multi-day hike to the Tujimal, the highest volcano in the country, or go camping at the top of Santa Maria. We also highly recommend the half-day trip to Santiaguito, one of Guatemala’s three still active volcanoes.
Others highlights of Quetzaltenango are the authentic city center, the volcanic hot springs, the hip hotspots, the impressive cemetery and the fun day trips in the area.
Where to stay in Quetzaltenango
Hotel Muchá, Guatemala’s best boutique hostel
There is only one good recommendation for a place to stay in Quetzaltenango: the lovely and affordable boutique hostel Mucha Arte Hostal, run by the lovely Patricia and Juan Carlos. It was one of our favorite places to stay in Guatemala because of the stylish decor and hospitable owners.
The rooms are spacious and attractively decorated, as you would normally expect from an expensive boutique hotel. However, the room prices of Mucha Arte are a lot less than you’ll expect from a boutique hotel, as this is a hostel rather than a hotel. There are both dormitories and private rooms, but guests do share a bathroom. There is also a kitchen, outdoor terrace and communal lounges. Mucha Arte is a popular base for the many travelers who stay in Xela for a longer period and we can absolutely understand, as Mucha Arte feels like a home away from home.
Alternative hotels in Quetzaltenango
Other great hotels and hostels in Quetzaltenango are:
#1 Plaza Pradera Quetzaltenango for a hotel with spacious, modern rooms and a beautiful rooftop pool with views over the city. The location is less ideal and is unfortunately outside the center.
#2 Hotel Pension Bonifaz with a prime location 100 meters from the central park. There is a swimming pool and breakfast is served daily on the central patio.
#3 Kasa Kiwi for a basic, but popular hostel in Quetzaltenango. The roof terrace scores high points with guests. Kasa Kiwi is also a tour organization in Xela and can therefore help you book day excursions.