Quetzaltenango, also commonly known by its indigenous name, Xela, is the second largest city of Guatemala and is located in the southwestern part of the country. Our city is rich in indigenous history, and in natural beauty. We are surrounded by volcanoes, mountains, rivers, valleys and thermal waters. Xela is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in Central America.
Xela has an estimated population of 224,703. The population is about 61% indigenous or Amerindian, 34% Mestizo or ladino and 5% European. Quetzaltenango is located in a mountain valley at an elevation of 2,330 meters (7,655 ft) above sea level at its lowest part. Our climate ranges from cold in the highlands to hot and humid in the south. Our year round temperatures average 70-80°F (21°C) during the daytime and 45°F (7°C) at night.
Our beautiful city attracts a more serious type of student and traveler. There aren’t many English speakers in Xela, and typically our students are people who are more determined to learn Spanish and about indigenous culture than other travelers. We take pride in the fact that several of our students remain here after studying at Centro Maya Xela to get involved in the many volunteer projects with which we are affiliated.
Xela also functions as a base for a range of spectacular hikes through the surrounding countryside including the constantly active Santiaguito volcano, and the picturesque and fascinating three day trek to Lake Atitlán to name a few. Our school offers a guide that is certified by the Guatemalan Tourism Institute, and the travel and adventure possibilities are limitless. The guide's fees are paid by the students who use their service, and the guides are well qualified to make recommendations to maximize your experience with us in our school and our country.
At Centro Maya Xela we are vey proud of our Mayan heritage, history and customs. We look forward to sharing with you the splendor of our natural resources and the beauty of our indigenous life.