A few kilometers east of La Mesilla  along the Pan-American Highway, a turnoff branches north down a newly paved road to the town of Nentón and continues to a new border crossing at Gracias a Dios.
Border formalities at Gracias a Dios are fairly straightforward and the friendly immigration agents might grant you a day pass to cross into Mexico to see the spectacular Lagunas de Montebello, a national park with pristine emerald lagoons surrounded by luxuriant forests.
Along the road from Nentón to Gracias a Dios, you could stop to admire El Cimarrón, a cavernous, 300-meter-deep limestone sinkhole harboring a forest at its base that has only recently been descended and explored. From the main road about three kilometers from the village of La Trinidad, 35 kilometers north of Nentón, a network of trails leads through surrounding farmland and cattle pastures to the sinkhole. It’s about a 30-minute walk from the road.
From La Trinidad, a dirt road leads east to the village of Yalambojoch, where you can grab a pickup heading east to San Mateo Ixtatán . It also serves as the transit point for visits to the wonderful Laguna Yolnabaj, also known as Laguna Brava, five kilometers north of here.
There are many returned refugees from Mexico living in these parts and you should be aware that the activities of foreign mining companies here and in other parts of northern Huehuetenango have locals a bit on edge. Exercise due caution. Better yet, go with a guide.
With help from local outfitter Unicornio Azul , the local community of Chaculá began hosting visits to the aforementioned attractions in 2009 as part of a community tourism program. Visitors stay at Posada Finca Chaculá (tel. 5205-9328, posadaruralfincachacula [at] hotmail [dot] com, $40 d), a revamped old farmhouse where there are basic but clean, comfortable accommodations. The posada runs trips to El Cimarron and other nearby attractions, including Laguna Yolnabaj and the pristine Río Azul, which is a dazzlingly exotic hue of blue, as its name implies.