San Andres Xecul


The church San Andres Xecul is possibly the most impressively colourful and wonderfully bizarre church that we have ever seen. There's an unavoidable 'wow' moment when you first lay eyes on it, even if you've seen all the pictures and are expecting the bright yellow church facade with technicolor saints and angels sitting on ledges and clinging to vines. Its certainly worth the short bus ride from Xela. Add in the luck of it being market day in Salcaja (the town on the way to San Andres) and you're in for a colourful morning indeed. Salcaja is also home to Central America's first Catholic Church, in case that helps next you hunker down for a rowdy game of Trival Pursuit. Also, since we're on the topic- Salcaja produces some pretty delicious (homemade) liquors from local fruits which you can taste in Xela at the wonderful Bajo La Luna Bar.  But, back to San Andres Xecul... When you're in San Andres Xecul make sure you walk up to the top of town to El Calvario for spectacular views over the valley and village below. El Calvario is a small chapel only about 15 min up through town and you don't have to worry about missing it, seeing as its also painted bright yellow. Making this village even more endearing is the fact that they have a tightrope strung from the top of their church and a pole in the middle of their square for their yearly Tightrope Festival! Because, why not? 

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How to get there: Go to the bus stop in Xela on Avenida Independencia, its at the roundabout where Monumento a la Marimba is.  There are buses that go directly to San Andres Xecul, seemingly randomly. If one happens to be leaving when you're there, lucky you- hop on! More likely you'll catch one of the super frequent buses heading north (we took the one towards Totonicapan, or Toto as everyone seems to call it).  You want to get off at the Moreria crossroads. Or just tell the bus guy you want to go to San Andres Xecul and he'll tell you when to get off. Cross the road and you'll see pickup trucks and hear guys yelling "San Andres". That's your que. Hop in the pick up with everyone else and you're off to the races! The pickup ride is Q2. Its all very easy, even if you're Spanish is as limited as ours.  There are buses that leave San Andres Xecul to go back to Xela from right beside the church.

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