Outside the City Center (Zona 3)
The legacy of maniacal dictator Manuel Estrada Cabrera’s quest to emulate all things European, the neoclassical Templo Minerva is a monument to the Greek goddess of wisdom. It stands at the corner of Calle Minerva and Calle Rodolfo Robles. The temple looks over the city’s bus terminal and busy market.
Farther along, in Parque Minerva proper, is the Parque Zoológico Minerva (9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., free), where there’s an unimpressive collection of animals housed in cages. Buses to this part of town leave from Pasaje Enríquez at 13 Avenida and 4a Calle Zona 1.
Formerly the Zona Militar 1715, the old building that once served as the train terminal for the defunct Ferrocarril de los Altos was slated to be the new home of the museum dedicated to its memory. The Museo del Ferrocarril de los Altos should be pretty spectacular, if a similar museum in Guatemala City is any indicator.
It’s now known as the Centro de Desarrollo Intercultural y Deportivo de Quetzaltenango, and there are plans for several other museums to open here in the coming years. The museum will be dedicated to the early 20th-century railroad that briefly connected Quetzaltenango to the coastal town of Retalhuleu.
Already housed in this complex is the Museo Ixkik’ del Traje Indígena (4a Calle and 19 Avenida Zona 3, tel. 7761-6472, 9 a.m.–noon and 2–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., $1), housing a collection of indigenous costumes.
The towns and villages near Quetzaltenango make for some interesting day trips. Found nearby are the Santa María and Santiaguito Volcanoes, hot springs, Indian markets, colorful churches, and an exquisite crater lake.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com