Salamá, Guatemala

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Salamá, Guatemala

Region: Baja Verapaz

Geographic Coordinates: 15.105200, -90.316000
Climate: Data not available.
Population: 71478
Language: Spanish

Salamá is a charming and picturesque town located in the Baja Verapaz department of Guatemala. Nestled in the heart of the country, It is surrounded by lush green mountains and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. This hidden gem is often overlooked by tourists, Making it an ideal destination for those seeking an authentic Guatemalan experience. The town itself exudes a peaceful and laid-back atmosphere, With its cobblestone streets lined with colorful colonial-style buildings. The central plaza serves as the heart of Salamá, Where locals gather to socialize and enjoy leisurely strolls.

Here, You’ll find a beautiful fountain surrounded by benches, Providing a perfect spot to relax and soak up the ambiance. One of Salamá’s main attractions is its rich cultural heritage. The town boasts several historical landmarks that are worth exploring. The San Juan Bautista Church stands proudly in the center of town, Showcasing stunning architecture dating back to colonial times. Inside this magnificent church, Visitors can admire intricate woodwork and religious artwork that tell stories from Guatemala’s past. For nature enthusiasts, Salamá offers numerous opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Just outside town lies Cerro Quemado (Burnt Hill), An extinct volcano that provides hiking trails leading to panoramic viewpoints over the valley below. Exploring this natural wonder rewards visitors with breathtaking vistas and encounters with unique flora and fauna along the way. If you’re interested in learning more about local traditions and crafts, Be sure to visit one of Salamá’s traditional markets or workshops where artisans showcase their skills passed down through generations. These markets are vibrant hubs filled with colorful textiles handmade pottery intricate wood carvingsand delicious local cuisine.

To truly immerse yourself in Guatemalan culture while visiting Salamá consider attending one of their lively festivals or celebrations held throughout the year. During these events such as Semana Santa (Holy Week) orthe Fiesta de la Virgen del Rosario, The town comes alive with vibrant processions, Traditional music, And lively dances. Salamá’s location makes it an excellent base for exploring other nearby attractions. Just a short drive away is the stunning Lake Atitlán known for its crystal-clear waters and surrounding volcanoes.

Additionally, You can venture to nearby indigenous villages such as Chichicastenango or Antigua Guatemala to further explore Guatemala’s rich cultural heritage. Salamá is a hidden gem in Guatemala that offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty, Rich history, And authentic cultural experiences. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or immersing yourself in local traditions and crafts this charming town will leave you captivated by its beauty and warm hospitality.

Important Landmarks

  1. Salamá Cathedral: The main cathedral of Salamá is an important religious site and architectural landmark. It features beautiful colonial-style architecture and is worth a visit.
  2. Parque Central: The central park of Salamá is a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. It’s a great place to relax, people-watch, or enjoy some street food.
  3. Museo de la Real Audiencia: This museum showcases the history and culture of Baja Verapaz department through exhibits on archaeology, textiles, traditional crafts, and more.
  4. Mirador El Calvario: A viewpoint located on top of a hill near the city center that offers panoramic views of Salamá and its surroundings.
  5. Cueva de las Minas: Located about 10 kilometers from Salamá, this cave system attracts adventurous visitors who can explore its underground passages with the help of local guides.
  6. Laguna Seca de Ayarza: A picturesque lake located about 40 kilometers from Salamá where visitors can enjoy boating or fishing activities amidst beautiful natural surroundings.
  7. Chilascó Waterfall: Situated approximately 15 kilometers from Salamá, this waterfall offers stunning views and opportunities for hiking or swimming in its refreshing waters.

While these attractions may not be as well-known as those found in other parts of Guatemala like Antigua or Tikal, they still offer unique experiences for travelers visiting Salamá.

Primary Industries

  1. Coffee Production: Salamá is known for its coffee production, with many coffee farms located in the surrounding region. Coffee cultivation, processing, and exportation are significant economic activities.
  2. Livestock Farming: Cattle ranching and livestock farming are prevalent in Salamá. The area has vast grasslands suitable for grazing animals such as cattle, pigs, sheep, and poultry.
  3. Fruit Cultivation: The region around Salamá is also known for fruit cultivation. Farmers grow a variety of fruits like bananas, oranges, avocados, mangos, pineapples, and more.
  4. Vegetable Farming: Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers (both sweet and hot), onions carrots lettuce are grown extensively in Salamá’s fertile lands.
  5. Handicrafts: Artisans produce traditional handicrafts like pottery (especially red clay ceramics), woven textiles (including clothing items), wooden carvings (masks or figurines), leather goods (bags or belts) etc., which contribute to the local economy through tourism sales.
  6. Food Processing: Several small-scale food processing units exist in Salamá where locally grown products like coffee beans or fruits are processed into value-added products such as roasted coffee or jams/jellies for local consumption or exportation.
  7. Retail Trade: As a regional hub with a growing population and visitors from nearby towns/villages seeking goods/services not available locally; retail stores including supermarkets/grocery stores play an important role in meeting consumer needs.
  8. Tourism Services: Although not one of the major industries yet but with its proximity to attractions like Lake Amatitlán or thermal baths at Santa Teresita; Salamá has the potential for tourism development, offering accommodation, restaurants, and tour services.

It’s important to note that Salamá is primarily a rural area with a focus on agriculture. However, it does have some small-scale industries and businesses catering to local needs and contributing to the local economy.

Noteable History

  1. Spanish Conquest: Salamá was founded in 1533 by Spanish conquistadors led by Pedro de Alvarado during the colonization of Guatemala.
  2. Battle of Salamá: In 1829, during the Central American Federation period, a battle took place in Salamá between liberal forces led by Francisco Morazán and conservative forces supporting the Guatemalan government.
  3. Rafael Carrera: One of Guatemala’s most prominent historical figures, Rafael Carrera was born near Salamá in 1814. He became a military leader and later served as President of Guatemala multiple times during the mid-19th century.
  4. Cathedral Basilica: The city is home to the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Bethlehem (Basílica Catedral Nuestra Señora de Belén), which was built between 1545 and 1559. It is one of the oldest churches in Central America.
  5. Indigenous Heritage: Salamá has a significant indigenous population, primarily from the Q’eqchi’ Maya ethnic group who have preserved their cultural traditions throughout history.
  6. Coffee Production: The region surrounding Salamá is known for its coffee production industry, contributing to both local economy and culture.
  7. Holy Week Celebrations: Holy Week (Semana Santa) celebrations in Salamá are renowned for their religious processions, traditional music, dances, and vibrant decorations.
  8. Cultural Festivals: The city hosts various cultural festivals throughout the year that showcase traditional music, dance performances like Baile de los Moros y Cristianos (Dance of Moors and Christians), handicrafts exhibitions, gastronomy fairs celebrating local cuisine like Fiambre dish on All Saints’ Day (Día de Todos los Santos), and more.

These notable events and people have shaped the history, culture, and identity of Salamá, making it a fascinating place to explore in Guatemala.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Chichicastenango Market: Located about 2 hours from Salamá, this famous indigenous market is a must-visit. It offers a vibrant atmosphere with colorful textiles, handicrafts, and fresh produce.
  2. Biotopo del Quetzal: A nature reserve known for its biodiversity and the elusive quetzal bird. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails and birdwatching in this beautiful natural setting.
  3. Iglesia de San Sebastián: This colonial-era church in Salamá is worth exploring for its stunning architecture and historical significance.
  4. Museo Arqueológico Casa K’ojom: Situated in nearby Chimaltenango, this museum showcases pre-Columbian artifacts and provides insights into the ancient Mayan civilization.
  5. Catedral Basílica de la Inmaculada Concepción: Located in Huehuetenango (about 2 hours from Salamá), this impressive cathedral is an architectural gem with intricate details both inside and outside.
  6. Monumento al Minero: Found in San Jerónimo, near Salamá, this monument pays tribute to the region’s mining heritage and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  7. Parque Central de Salamá: The central park of Salamá is a great place to relax or take a stroll while enjoying the local atmosphere.
  8. Museo Regional de Occidente Hector Antonio Chang Castillo: Situated in Huehuetenango, this museum focuses on regional history, culture, and art exhibits showcasing local artists’ works.
  9. Mirador El Calvario: A viewpoint located near Huehuetenango that offers breathtaking views of the city below along with picturesque landscapes surrounding it.
  10. Grutas del Rey Marcos (Caves): These natural caves are situated near Cobán (around 3 hours from Salamá) where visitors can explore underground formations and learn about the local legends associated with the caves.

Sports Teams

  1. Club Deportivo Salamá: This is one of the most prominent football (soccer) teams in Salamá. The club has participated in various regional leagues and tournaments within Guatemala.
  2. Club Deportivo Baja Verapaz: Another football team based in Salamá, this club represents the entire Baja Verapaz department, including the city of Salamá.
  3. Basketball Teams: Salamá has had several local basketball teams that have participated in regional competitions and tournaments over the years.
  4. Volleyball Teams: Similarly to basketball, there have been various volleyball teams representing Salamá participating at both local and regional levels.

While these are just a few examples, it’s important to note that sports infrastructure and opportunities may be more limited compared to larger cities or regions with professional leagues. However, these local clubs contribute to promoting sports culture within Salamá and provide opportunities for athletes to compete at different levels within their respective disciplines.

Cultural Events

Salama Festivals

Salama Festivals

  1. Semana Santa (Holy Week)

    This is one of the most important religious festivals in Salamá, celebrated with processions, traditional music, and colorful decorations.

  2. Fiesta de San Juan

    Celebrated on June 24th, this festival honors Saint John the Baptist with traditional dances, music performances, and a procession through the streets.

  3. Feria Patronal

    Held in honor of the town’s patron saint, Santiago Apóstol (Saint James), this fair takes place in late July or early August. It includes parades, rodeos, bullfights, live music concerts, traditional food stalls, and carnival rides.

  4. Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

    Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd each year to honor deceased loved ones. Families gather at cemeteries to clean tombs and decorate them with flowers and candles.

  5. Independence Day

    On September 15th each year, Salamá celebrates Guatemala’s independence from Spain with patriotic parades showcasing traditional costumes and folkloric dances.

  6. Festival Folklórico Nacional de Cobán

    Although not directly held in Salamá but nearby Cobán city (about an hour away), this festival features indigenous dance performances from various regions of Guatemala including those from Baja Verapaz department where Salamá is located.

Note that specific dates for these events may vary slightly each year; it is recommended to check local sources or tourism websites for accurate information before planning a visit to attend any particular event or festival.


  1. Pepián: A traditional Guatemalan stew made with meat (usually chicken or beef), vegetables, and spices. It is often served with rice and tortillas.
  2. Chiles Rellenos: Stuffed peppers filled with meat, cheese, or beans and then fried or baked. They are typically served with tomato sauce.
  3. Tamales: Traditional Guatemalan corn dough filled with various ingredients such as chicken, pork, vegetables, or cheese. They are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.
  4. Comedor Doña Gloria: A popular local restaurant that serves traditional Guatemalan dishes such as Pepián, Chiles Rellenos, Tamales, and more.
  5. El Rinconcito de Salamá: Another well-known restaurant offering a variety of local cuisine including Pepián, Chiles Rellenos, and other typical dishes from the region.
  6. Antojitos Chapines: This restaurant specializes in authentic Guatemalan street food like tamales, tostadas topped with various ingredients like guacamole or refried beans.
  7. Pollo Campero: A famous fast-food chain originating from Guatemala that serves delicious fried chicken along with sides like fries or coleslaw.
  8. La Fonda del Castillo de San Felipe de Lara y Salamá: Located near the historic Castillo de San Felipe de Lara y Salamá fortress ruins offering a mix of traditional Guatemalan dishes along with international options.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Parque Central: The central park of Salamá is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. It features beautiful gardens, benches, and a gazebo where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings.
  2. Mirador de Salamá: This viewpoint offers stunning panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. It’s a great place to take photos or simply admire the scenery.
  3. Parque Ecológico Los Pinos: Located just outside of Salamá, this ecological park is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and picnicking. It has trails through forests, waterfalls, and natural pools where you can swim.
  4. Laguna de Ayarza: About 15 kilometers from Salamá lies Laguna de Ayarza, a beautiful lake surrounded by lush vegetation. Here you can go boating, fishing or simply enjoy a peaceful day by the water.
  5. Balneario El Jute: This recreational area is situated along the Jupilingo River near Salamá. It offers swimming pools with slides for both children and adults to enjoy during hot summer days.
  6. Parque Acuático Xocomil: While not located directly in Salamá (it’s about 2 hours away), Xocomil Water Park is worth mentioning as it’s one of Guatemala’s most famous attractions nearby offering various water slides and pools suitable for all ages.


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