Beer drinkers will want to try Cabro, an excellent local brew sold widely in Quetzaltenango. As for watering holes, the ever-popular Salón Tecún (Pasaje Enríquez, on the west side of Parque Centroamérica, tel. 7761-2832) is one of Xela’s main gathering spots, with a great location, lively atmosphere, and funky decor. There’s also outdoor seating fronting the attractive Pasaje Enríquez pedestrian thoroughfare. You can wash down your drink with menu items that include pizzas, pastas, vegetarian, and Thai dishes.
Gargolas (4a Calle 12-49 Zona 1, Pasaje Enriquez, 5 p.m.–1 a.m. daily) has a hip atmosphere and plays good music. You can drink at the bar or step into the stylish lounge areas to enjoy your evening under baroque, cathedral-like columns.
The bar inside Pensión Bonifaz (4a Calle 10-50 Zona 1, tel. 7765-1111) is the place to go for high-brow socializing.
The town’s local nightlife hotspots seem to change constantly, so you might be better off asking around. La Parranda (14 Avenida 4-41 Zona 1, 8 p.m.–1 a.m. Wed.–Sat.) is the place to go for dancing.
For live music, check out El Jarro (14 Ave. ‘A’ 3-34 Zona 1, tel. 5391-8484, 6 p.m.–1 a.m. Wed.–Fri., 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Sat.). Live music starts at 9 p.m.
Also featuring live music and a cool lounge atmosphere is Ojalá (15 Avenida “A” 3-33 Zona 1, tel. 7763-0206, www.ojalaxela.com).
There are sometimes cultural performances at the elegant Teatro Municipal (1a Calle between 14 Avenida and 14 Avenida “A”), which dates from 1908.
Blue Angel Video Café (7a Calle 15-79 Zona 1, 1–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 3–10 p.m. Sun.) shows movies at 8 p.m. nightly and serves vegetarian fare and smoothies.
Cinema Paraíso (1a Calle 12-20 Zona 1, tel. 5408-1963, $1.50) is another café screening nightly movies.
The newest video cinema in town is Cine Sofia (6a Calle 15-12 Zona 1, $1.50) showing international nonmainstream movies at 6 p.m. Monday–Friday, sometimes on a large screen if there’s enough demand.
Teatro Roma (14 Avenida “A” across from Teatro Municipal) sometimes screens movies.
For the latest releases, head to Cines Pradera Xela (Avenida Las Américas y 7a Calle Zona 3, www.circuitoalba.com.gt, $3) inside its namesake shopping mall.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com