San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala

Reading Time: 5 minutes

San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala

Region: Guatemala

Geographic Coordinates: 14.718900, -90.644200
Temperature Range: 15.0°C to 28.0°C (59°F to 82°F)
Population: 284798
Language: Spanish

San Juan Sacatepéquez is a municipality in the central highlands of Guatemala known for its rich Mayan heritage and traditional clothing. The town has a population of around 80, 000 people, Mostly indigenous Maya Kaqchikel who are friendly and welcoming to visitors. One of the notable attractions in San Juan Sacatepéquez is its weekly market held every Friday where visitors can find fresh produce, Handmade crafts, Textiles, Pottery, Jewelry, And local foods like tamales or chuchitos.

Another must-visit spot is the K’iche’ Maya ceremonial center known as Pascual Abaj where visitors can witness ceremonies performed by local shamans who use chanting and burning incense to communicate with spirits. For outdoor enthusiasts, San Juan Sacatepéquez offers several hiking trails that lead through lush forests and up steep mountainsides offering panoramic views over the surrounding valleys below. One popular hike takes visitors up Cerro Chino mountain where they can see beautiful waterfalls cascading down rock faces.

for those interested in learning more about Guatemala’s history during colonial times should visit the San Juan Sacatepéquez Museum which displays artifacts from the colonial period including Spanish weapons, Pottery, And textiles. It also has exhibits that highlight the town’s Mayan heritage and traditional clothing. San Juan Sacatepéquez is a fascinating destination in Guatemala that offers visitors a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture through vibrant markets to ancient ceremonial centers to stunning natural landscapes.

Whether you’re interested in hiking through lush forests or exploring historical sites like Pascual Abaj or learning about traditional Mayan dress at the museum – this town has it all!

Important Landmarks

  • Church of San Juan Bautista – a colonial-era church located in the town center.
  • The Mirador – a viewpoint overlooking the valley and surrounding mountains.
  • Cerro Alux – a hill with hiking trails and scenic views.
  • El Capulin Natural Park – a nature reserve with hiking trails, waterfalls, and picnic areas.
  • Laguna de Calderas – a crater lake surrounded by forested hills.
  • Museo del Ferrocarril de los Altos – a railway museum showcasing Guatemala’s railway history.
  • Mercado Municipal – a local market selling fresh produce, crafts, and souvenirs.

Primary Industries

  • The major industries and businesses in San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala include:
    1. Agriculture
    2. Textile manufacturing
    3. Handicrafts
  • The town is known for its production of traditional Mayan textiles which are sold both locally and internationally.
  • Additionally, there are several small businesses in the town center that cater to local residents’ needs such as:
    1. Convenience stores
    2. Hardware stores
    3. Restaurants
  • The surrounding area is also home to several large-scale agricultural operations that produce crops such as corn and beans.

  • Noteable History

    1. The ancient Mayan city of Kaminaljuyu was located in what is now San Juan Sacatepéquez.
    2. During the Spanish colonial period, San Juan Sacatepéquez played a significant role in agriculture and trade.
    3. In 1838, a major earthquake struck the town, resulting in significant damage and loss of life.
    4. San Juan Sacatepéquez was a site of conflict between government forces and guerrilla groups during the Guatemalan Civil War (1960-1996).
    5. Recently, the town has become known for its opposition to large-scale mining projects and other forms of resource extraction that pose a threat to local communities and ecosystems.
    6. Notable individuals associated with San Juan Sacatepéquez include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum, activist Yolanda Oquelí, and musician Gaby Moreno.

    Museums and Things To See

    1. Iglesia de San Juan Bautista: This historic church is located in the center of town and dates back to the 16th century.
    2. Museo del Jade: This museum showcases a collection of jade artifacts from pre-Columbian times, including jewelry, sculptures, and tools.
    3. Centro Cultural Miguel Ángel Asturias: This cultural center hosts a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year, including theater performances, music concerts, and art shows.
    4. Monumento al Maíz: This monument pays tribute to the importance of maize in Guatemalan culture and features a large sculpture of an ear of corn.
    5. Casa del Tejido Antiguo: This textile museum showcases traditional Mayan weaving techniques and features a collection of colorful textiles from different regions across Guatemala.
    6. Mercado Municipal de San Juan Sacatepéquez: This bustling market offers a glimpse into daily life in Guatemala and sells everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.
    7. Parque Nacional Volcán Pacaya: Although not located directly in San Juan Sacatepéquez, this national park is just a short drive away and offers stunning views of an active volcano as well as hiking trails through lush forests.

    Sports Teams

    1. Unfortunately, there is limited information available on sports teams and their histories in San Juan Sacatepéquez, Guatemala.
    2. It is possible that there are local soccer or basketball teams, but specific information about them is not readily available online.

    Cultural Events

    1. Fiesta de San Juan: This festival is celebrated on June 24th in honor of the patron saint of San Juan Sacatepéquez, Saint John the Baptist. It includes traditional dances, music, and a procession.
    2. Feria Patronal: Annually held in August to celebrate the town’s founding anniversary, this fair features carnival rides, food stalls, live music performances, and other cultural activities.
    3. Semana Santa: Holy Week is an important religious celebration in Guatemala with various processions and ceremonies taking place in San Juan Sacatepéquez.
    4. Día de los Muertos: Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd with altars honoring deceased loved ones, traditional foods like fiambre (a salad made with various meats), marigold flowers, candles, and other offerings.
    5. Independence Day: September 15th marks Guatemala’s independence from Spain in 1821 which is commemorated with parades featuring marching bands and colorful costumes.
    6. Christmas Posadas: In December leading up to Christmas Eve (Nochebuena), families go door-to-door reenacting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging before Jesus’ birth by singing carols asking for shelter until they are welcomed into someone’s home for a feast.
    7. Guatemalan National Day of Marimba Music: On November 29th each year there are concerts celebrating this national instrument that has been recognized as part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list since 2015.


    • Pepián de Pollo: A traditional chicken stew made with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and dried chili peppers.
    • Churrasco: Grilled steak served with rice, beans, and tortillas.
    • Tamalitos de Elote: Corn tamales filled with cheese or meat.
    • Restaurante La Casita de Don Chepe: A family-owned restaurant serving traditional Guatemalan dishes like pepián and churrasco.
    • Restaurante El Jardín del Sol: A garden restaurant serving fresh salads, grilled meats, and homemade desserts.
    • Cafetería San Juan: A casual café serving breakfast items like eggs, pancakes, and coffee.
    • Comedor Doña María: An affordable cafeteria-style restaurant serving typical Guatemalan dishes like chiles rellenos (stuffed peppers) and arroz con pollo (chicken rice).

    • Parks and Recreation

      1. Parque Central is the primary public park in San Juan Sacatepéquez, situated in the town center. It has a playground, benches, and green space for picnics and relaxation.
      2. Paseo El Mirador is a scenic walking path that provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s an excellent place to go for a leisurely stroll or jog.
      3. Laguna Seca Recreational Area is an artificial lake that offers fishing, boating, and other water activities. There are also nearby picnic areas and hiking trails.
      4. Eco Park Los Alpes is a nature park that features hiking trails through forests of pine trees, bird watching opportunities, and camping facilities.
      5. La Asunción Golf Club is located just outside of San Juan Sacatepéquez and has 18 holes set against beautiful mountain backdrops.
      6. Parque Ecológico Kanajuyú offers zip lining, horseback riding, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities in a natural setting.
      7. Finca El Pilar Nature Reserve is a private nature reserve with hiking trails through cloud forests filled with exotic birds and wildlife species like jaguars and pumas.
      8. Mirador de la Cruz del Carmen lookout point provides panoramic views of the town below as well as surrounding countryside dotted with farms and fields.


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