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An update from Evaneos
San Andrés Xecul

San Andrés Xecul (Guatemala)

Practical information about San Andrés Xecul

  • Viewpoint
  • Place or Religious Monument
2 / 5 - One review
How to get there
20min drive from Xela
When to go

All year round

Minimum stay
A few hours

Reviews of San Andrés Xecul

Travel writer
30 travel articles

Home to one of the most famous churches in Guatemala and not a lot else.

My suggestion:
A half-day visit is enough; you could tag it on to a trip to San Cristóbal Totonicapán and its forest-dwelling community.

San Andrés Xecul isn't particularly interesting. I went there a few weeks after arriving with my partner, accompanied by a Franco-Guatemalan couple, who'd just started seeing each other. Apart from its technicoloured, yellow church - the local tourist attraction - there didn't seem to be much else to do there during a trip to Guatemala.

Its vibrant colour apart, the facade of this church is a fascinating mishmash of Christian images and the Maya's take on the world (jaguars, twin gods, maize gods). It's decorated in a quasi-naive style with references that are little known to Ladinos and foreigners alike. A book, which I stumbled upon at a later date and which I highly recommend to visitors wishing to decipher this building, is the iconographic study by the historian, Anaité Galeotti.  

As for the interior, complete with effigies wearing beautiful costumes, there wasn't anything that distinguished it from the other churches and cathedrals that I saw in the country. The rest of the town was as insipid as most towns in Guatemala - concrete everywhere and a few pretty houses built with money that Guatemalan emigrants had sent back to their families. A bit higher up, you'll find a Mayan altar, from where you'll get superb views of the valley below. Apart from that, there's nothing to write home about.

View from the bottom of the facade at San Andrés Xecul's church