Sierra de los Cuchumatanes

The spectacular Sierra de los Cuchumatanes is the highest non-volcanic region in all of Central America; which goes from the border with neighboring Chiapas (Mexico) in (en vez de TO ?) the northwest, up to the Verapaces mountains; to the east, crossing through the departments of Huehuetenango and Quiché, and covering 15% of the national territory.
Its unusual and sometimes austere landscapes, created by his rise of (no sería “FROM the sea”?) the sea in the tertiary, does not deserve a fairer appeal than those of the words in Mam lenguaje “cuchuj” (gathered) and “matán” (by force), which possibly gave name to it.

Between 500 and 3800 meters high, there is a great variation of climates, ecosystems and agricultural diversity that make Huehuetenango one of the regions of greatest biological diversity in the country. Although their lands tent to be more forested, agriculture is the main productive base. In addition to corn, beans, and wheat, common throughout the department, Aguacatán is famous for its garlic and onions, Nentón for its hibiscus, the highs of Chiantla for its potatoes, Barillas for its cardamom while Huehuetenango for its coffee (no sería : the coffee of Huehuetenango?), originally from its municipalities of medium height, is recognized worldwide. Sheep are a characteristic of the upper part since colonial times. San Mateo Ixtatán and Sacapulas (Quiché) are known for their salt production.

In the pre-colonial era, the region had a strong Mam presence, although there was Toltec influence, as well as periods of K’iche ‘ hegemony. The political and religious center of the Mam region was Zaculeu, until the fall of its cacique Caibil Balam in 1525, after a long siege imposed by the troops of Gonzalo de Alvarado. One hundred and forty archaeological sites show the pre-Hispanic historical and cultural richness of the department. From the colonial era, fascinating witnesses are the Silver Virgin of the church in Chiantla as well as the church of San Mateo Ixtatán among others. While Many legends still live in all these places.

The population of the department is close to one million people (8% of the country’s population) of which 65% is indigenous with an evident diversity of more than nine different languages (Akateko, Awakateko, Chuj, K’iche ‘, Mam, Pópti, Q ‘anjob’al , Tektiko and Spanish). Ladino communities are found mainly at the southern, northern, and western shores of the sierra, because of injustices in history, indigenous people were relegated to the higher and more remote lands of the center and east. Migration, in search of work and as a complement to subsistence agriculture, has become a constant for rural population, initially for the coffee harvests and more recently towards the US. Huehuetenango was also one of the most affected departments by the civil war during the 1980s.

In spite of its cultural richness, beauty and natural diversity, the department of Huehuetenango is little developed touristically. This makes Huehuetenango a destination for the daring, who want to get off the beaten track and who will be rewarded by the authenticity of the places and their people.

Destinations to discover

Mirador Diéguez Olaverri and Café del Cielo

From the monuments that treasured the poems of Juan Diéguez Olaverri – whose history you will discover once in the place – the view is infinite towards the Sierra Madre and the volcanoes chain. You will be able to enjoy it even more from the Café del Cielo, a well-deserved name, which offers you a selection of the best coffees in Huehuetenango, grilled lamb, house pies, hot wine, among other offerings of food and drinks prepared with love.It is located 7km before El Unicornio Azul.

Magdalena Lagoon

The small but melancholic lagoon of emerald waters, hidden among the boulders is a much unique experience.
Located an hour and quarter away by car (SUV in dry season and 4×4 during rainy season) from Unicornio Azul, crossing the beautiful and wild places of the formerly called “Altos de Chiantla”. Back to the Unicornio Azul, we will gladly tell you the legend that inhabits it …

On the roof of Central America – Todos Santos Regional Park

For lovers of large spaces who will be breathless on the ceiling of Central America that ends at 3800 meters high. In this fantastic, protected area that belongs to the municipality of Todos Santos, you will find, in rainy season and first weeks of summer, a small mountain lagoon that reflects the intense blue of the sky.

An hour by car (4*4) from the Unicornio Azul. You can also access by foot, with a local guide, a beautiful walk that begins about 40 minutes by car from Unicornio Azul and lasts about 3 to 4 hours in total or more depending on the itinerary.

Todos Santos Cuchumatán

For those who want to feel the life of towns (even more so on Saturday morning, market day), Todos Santos Cuchumatán and its incomparable textiles, is an experience of pleasant animation and a stroke of colors for the eye.
If you are interested in getting closer to the culture, do not forget to visit the small Balam Museum, which shows the history and popular culture of Mam from Todos Santos and share with the museum´s owner, the unique and only, Don Fortunato.
Do not resist either the temptation to take with you some of the beautiful textile crafts; the craft shop of the Hotel Casa Familiar is to fall in love with …
The Todos Santos region offers multiple hiking options -accompanied by local guides that we would recommend you- and a high-altitude coffee tour, unique in the region.
The place is located an hour away by car (paved road) from Unicornio Azul.

Puerta del Cielo Mirador

A viewpoint that deserves its name, although it is frequently invaded by clouds, and whose view reaches Mexico. A small community path (ask for the person in charge before entering) allows you to enter a protected forest of pinabetes (abies guatemalensis).
The place is located an hour away by car (4*4) from El Unicornio Azul.

Río Quisil

In a tempered climate that contrasts with the one at the climb, the Quisil River unrolls its intense turquoise waters just coming down from the Sierra. This is an area managed by the community offering rest and peace for visitors.
The place is located two hours by car (preferably 4*4) from Unicornio Azul.

Walks

Walking on the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes is …   to see an incredible variety of landscapes; to have a spontaneous contact with the peasants, to feel the fresh and invigorating air, to appreciate the changes of light from bright sunsets to the mist that suddenly and silently envelops you.
Here, you will find different types of hiking.

Agrotourism from the Plateau

With 40 years of history and over a thousand members, the Cooperative Joya Hermosa, located 4km from El Unicornio Azul, in the K’iche village of Climentoro, it is a true benchmark in the region. Their work in the conservation and valorization of agro diversity, good agricultural practices and reforestation will fascinate to all those who are interested in agricultural reality, rural life and cooperativism.
In an approximately two-hour tour, representatives of the Cooperative will share gladly with you their history, the potato production project (seeds and consumption), including a single “clonal garden” with the 36 varieties of potatoes native to the region, as well as the seed bank with more than 150 varieties of creole corn ! Completing this different and enriching experience, you shall not miss the visit to the house of one of the associates to learn more about the livestock project with the raising of lambs, llamas and alpacas!
The place is located 4km away from Unicornio Azul.

Coffee Tour

Discovering the plant, knowing its age and variety, understanding the conservation of its soil, the role of shade trees, organic fertilization, select the grain, harvesting it carefully, visiting the humid benefit for its transformation before the drying process and toasting, accompanied by the farm’s owner, is what this unique Coffee Tour brings to you, which concludes with a local meal, with a todosantera owner family, and with the tasting of the coffee product from the farm.

Aviturismo

In a quiet and safe environment, lovers of birdwatching will be able to walk in the surroundings or sit in our small forest to know the endemic species of the region such as the Pink Headed Warbler, the Yellow Rumped Goldman Warbler, the American Kestrel or the Yellow Eyed Guatemalan Junco
See our check list!

Rural Lodge Finca Chaculá

Attention: Posada Finca Chaculá is a sister lodge, but different from the Unicornio Azul, located in the Huistas in Huehuetenango Region.

Its official website is http://www.turismochacula.com
At the foot of the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, northwest of the department, the Huista region has many surprises. In the middle of an ancestral region, attested by numerous understudied archaeological sites, as well as by cave paintings, among blue rivers, cenotes of blue marine water, the vertiginous Cimarrón Hole, or the Yolnajab Lagoon, Posada Chaculá offers a refuge of rest and peace. The old farmhouse of the Hacienda, is loaded with history and legends and its three romantic rooms will transport you to the last century. Outside, only the wind in the forest disturbs the silence.

The community of Chaculá is composed by 210 families, whom, during the 1980s, with the civil war, had to leave Huehuetenango to Mexico, where they remained until 1994, when they were able to return to Guatemala and resume their lives on the Chaculá farm. After some years dedicated to serving the basic needs of the community, they decided to start a community rural tourism project, with the technical advice of Unicornio Azul, whom accompanied them in the first five years of their project, which allows not only to create several jobs and generate income for future community benefit projects but also to maintain their natural, historical and archaeological heritage.

The place is located 4 hours and half away (asfalted road) from El Unicornio Azul

VISIT SITE OF FINCA CHACULÁ

© 2019 Unicornio Azul | Creado por Zyntos Studio