A highlight of this back-door route to Guatemala City is Pachalum, a prosperous town only 21 years old; it has become a development model for the rest of Guatemala, having received international acclaim for its widespread citizen participation in local government, decentralization of local political power structures, and financial transparency.
It should be noted that much of this development has taken place with assistance from USAID, which chose Pachalum as a project site because of its young age and the chance to start off with a clean slate. Access to potable water, electricity, health care, and education are widely available and there are municipal offices dedicated to Women’s Vocational Training and Children and Youth. The town even has its own website, found at www.pachalum.com.
It is just 72 kilometers from Guatemala City and, while not necessarily a tourism destination in the traditional sense, it is certainly worth a look if you go this way, at least for the chance to see what a developed Guatemala might someday resemble.
Should you need to stay here, Hotel Nancy (northwest of the plaza) or Hotel Posada del Sol (150 meters from city hall on Avenida Los Geranios and Calle Las Ilusiones, Zona 4) are good, inexpensive hotels.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com