Cathedral of Xela
Hot tips

Basic Tools / See also Transportation / Stomach Ailments / Safety in Xela (Quetzaltenango)

Your first day in Guatemala
Bring a change of clothes and valuables in your carry on bag. Put money and passport in money belt or neck wallet. Guatemala City, like most capital cities in the world, has pocket pickers - Do not turn your back on luggage, and try not to sit near doors where people may grab and run.
Do not put toilet paper in the toilet as the plumbing cannot accept it. To avoid amoebas or stomach infections, do not drink the tap water, do not eat salads in restaurants and do not eat food sold in the street.

It is recommended that those traveling in Guatemala update their tetanus, Hepititus, diphtheria and poliomyelitis shots before leaving. If you plan to visit rural areas, typhoid and gamma globulin are also highly recommended to prevent typhoid and hepatitis A. It is best to complete these at least two weeks before departure. Malaria is not a danger in Xela, but can be near the coasts. For more information on vaccinations, visit this web site:
BASIC tool - information changes and businesses move, please do not rely on this information whole heartedly.

Costs of living
We like to say it would cost you about $125-250 to live in Xela for one month. This cost includes something for travelling, food, touring, a room at an inexpensive hotel, gas for stove, electricity, and other costs. It helps if you know Spanish, and it helps if you know where to find the things you need. Your first two months will be higher cost than the rest as you get used to how business is done, and establish contacts and build know-how.

Find housing in Xela (Quetzaltenango) / Top
For living here on your own we suggest you by-pass all the hub-bub about living with a family. They live very strict schedules and cannot make many exceptions or changes for your schedule if you would wish to travel, stay out late, work during the day, work during some days and not others, or otherwise lead an unpredictable lifestyle. It is best to buy a guidebook like the one made by "Lonely Planet" or other company, and book reservations at one of the local cheap hotels here. (We suggest Casa Argentina as a start) Book your rooms one week at a time so that you may move quickly if you find it not to your liking. You can use your time in the hotels to find open rooms elsewhere in the city, sometimes for as low as $60 per month. This requires walking around and reading signs posted in front of businesses, and being able to inquire in Spanish all the details. Pack light on clothes as there are a thousand opportunities to by thrift store clothing from the States, or other locally made clothing.

Changing Money in Xela / Top
Local banks are generally able to cash dollars or travelers checks Monday - Friday from 9:00 am to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 am to 1:00 p.m.; Bring your passport, Xeroxes are not accepted. Given the problem of changing large bills in local markets and tiendas, we suggest you request bills no larger than Q20 or Q50 when changing money. Also, you can change money in the office at the school for slightly lower rate and the difference goes toward the school's social projects.
There are several ATMs on the perimeter of the Central Park in Xela. Nearly all of these accept MasterCard and Visa Debit cards (Check cards). If you only have a Mastercard or Visa CREDIT card, you can go to the Credomatic office in the mall in Zone 3 named Mont Blanc, or try your luck with the Central Park ATMs. Other credit companies are spotty here, but banks are capable to exchange, best to start with the banks in the Central Park.
Many banks are now connected to Western Union and money can be sent from any other Western Union office in the world. You need the order number and the location it was sent from in order to pick the money up here.

By phone:
(502) 5888.1396
By email:

To report a problem with this web site: admin(at)
If you want to contact with someone about an advertising opportunity or exchanging links.

With all email requests, please be sure to include a phone number where we can call you back if we need additional information.