San Pedro Carchá
This small town lies six kilometers east of Cobán, though the urban sprawl around both towns means they are gradually merging into a single agglomeration. In the center of town, you’ll find the small, recently renovated Museo Regional (9 a.m.–noon and 2–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., $1) beside the church. There are stuffed birds and animals as well as Mayan artifacts and dolls in traditional costume.
The town’s other main attraction is the Balneario Las Islas, a 10-minute walk from the center of town, where a river runs down into a natural pool.
There are some decent places to stay on the outskirts of town that make a nice alternative to staying in Cobán proper, if you seek a more natural environment.
Along Km. 216 of the road from Cobán to San Pedro Carchá is Hotel Mansión Santo Domingo de Guzman (tel. 7950-0777, $40 d), a wonderful colonial hacienda-style property set on forested grounds. The rooms and common areas are tastefully decorated with antiques. All rooms have private hot-water bath, comfortable beds, cable TV, and a desk. There is also a good restaurant with outdoor patio seating overlooking well-manicured lawns.
Also out this way near the arco bridge at the entrance to town along Km. 217.5 is Hotel Posada de Don Francisco (tel. 7951-3356, $44 d), also featuring comfortable rooms in a similar setting, some with river views.
There are buses every 20 minutes from Cobán to Carchá.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com