San Pedro Carchá, Guatemala

Reading Time: 6 minutes

San Pedro Carchá, Guatemala

Region: Alta Verapaz

Geographic Coordinates: 15.476800, -90.312000
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 25.0°C (50°F to 77°F)
Climate: Seasonal and annual climate and weather patterns in San Pedro Carchá, Guatemala can vary, but generally include a rainy season from May to October and a dry season from November to April. Temperatures typically range from 50°F (10°C) to 80°F (27°C).
Population: 255006
Language: Q’anjob’al

San Pedro Carchá is a charming town located in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. It sits at an altitude of 1, 320 meters above sea level and has a population of approximately 30, 000 people. The town boasts beautiful natural surroundings and a rich cultural heritage. Visitors to San Pedro Carchá are treated to breathtaking views of lush green mountains that surround the town. The streets are lined with colorful buildings and bustling markets selling local produce. One of the most notable landmarks in the area is the Catholic Church of San Pedro Apóstol, Which dates back to colonial times.

The Q’eqchi’ Maya ethnic group makes up a significant portion of San Pedro Carchá’s population, Contributing to its strong indigenous culture. Visitors can witness traditional ceremonies such as fire dances and observe local artisans creating intricate textiles using ancient techniques passed down through generations. Semuc Champey is one of the main attractions near San Pedro Carchá – it’s a natural wonder consisting of turquoise pools cascading over limestone formations amid dense jungle vegetation. Visitors can swim in these crystal-clear pools or hike up nearby viewpoints for stunning vistas.

Lanquín Cave is another popular destination near San Pedro Carchá – it features impressive stalactites and stalagmites illuminated by colorful lights during guided tours. The cave system also includes underground rivers and waterfalls that add to its allure. For adventure seekers, Hiking, Rafting on nearby rivers or exploring caves with experienced guides are all available activities in San Pedro Carchá. There are also several hot springs scattered around the area where visitors can relax after their adventures. San Pedro Carchá offers an authentic cultural experience combined with stunning natural beauty that attracts visitors from all over Guatemala and beyond.

Its vibrant community welcomes tourists while preserving their traditions for future generations to enjoy – making it an ideal destination for anyone interested in outdoor activities or cultural immersion!

Important Landmarks

  1. Semuc Champey: A series of turquoise pools and cascading waterfalls that is a natural wonder.
  2. Lanquín Caves: A system of limestone caves with impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
  3. El Mirador del Calvario: A viewpoint that offers panoramic views of the town and surrounding mountains.
  4. El Salto de Chilasco Waterfall: A beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.
  5. Parque Ecoturístico Sepalau: An ecotourism park with hiking trails, zip-lining facilities, and camping facilities.
  6. San Juan Bautista Church: A colonial-era church dating back to the 18th century.
  7. Laguna Lachúa National Park: A protected area featuring a crystal-clear lake surrounded by dense rainforest.
  8. Rio Cahabón: A scenic river popular for rafting and tubing excursions.
  9. Chisec Market: An authentic local market selling traditional handicrafts as well as fresh produce from the region.
  10. Parcum Tunich Artisanal Chocolate Factory: Here you can learn about how chocolate is made from cacao beans grown locally in Guatemala’s Alta Verapaz region.

Primary Industries

  • Agriculture (coffee, corn, beans)
  • Livestock farming (cattle, pigs)
  • Handicrafts (weaving and embroidery)
  • Tourism (ecotourism and adventure tourism)
  • Small-scale commerce
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores
  • Hardware stores

  • Noteable History

    1. The ancient Mayan civilization: San Pedro Carchá is located in the heart of the Mayan region and was home to many ancient Mayan sites, including Tikal, one of the largest and most important cities of the pre-Columbian era.
    2. The Spanish conquest: In 1525, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado arrived in what is now Guatemala and conquered the indigenous peoples. San Pedro Carchá was one of many towns that fell under Spanish rule during this time.
    3. The Guatemalan Civil War: From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala experienced a brutal civil war that left over 200,000 people dead or missing. Many indigenous communities like San Pedro Carchá were disproportionately affected by this conflict.
    4. Rigoberta Menchú Tum: Rigoberta Menchú Tum is a K’iche’ Maya woman from nearby Quiché who became an internationally recognized human rights activist for her work on behalf of indigenous peoples in Guatemala and throughout Latin America.
    5. Antonio Tejero Cabrera: Antonio Tejero Cabrera was a Guatemalan military officer who played a key role in organizing death squads during the civil war that targeted indigenous communities like those around San Pedro Carchá.
    6. Juan José Rodil Peralta: Juan José Rodil Peralta was a Guatemalan poet from nearby Cobán whose work often explored themes related to indigeneity and social justice.
    7. The Q’anjob’al language revival movement: In recent years, there has been a growing movement among Q’anjob’al-speaking communities like those around San Pedro Carchá to preserve their language and culture in the face of ongoing discrimination and marginalization by mainstream Guatemalan society.

    Museums and Things To See

    1. Centro Cultural de San Pedro Carchá showcases the history and traditions of the Q’eqchi’ Maya people, including traditional clothing, crafts, and music.
    2. Iglesia de San Pedro Apóstol is one of the oldest churches in Guatemala and features stunning colonial architecture.
    3. Grutas del Rey Marcos are natural caves located just outside of San Pedro Carchá that offer a unique opportunity to explore underground formations.
    4. Mirador Cerro Tzankujil offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
    5. Museo Ixkik’ displays traditional textiles made by local women, as well as other artifacts related to Q’eqchi’ Maya culture.
    6. Parque Nacional Laguna Lachuá is a national park located just a short distance from San Pedro Carchá that features a stunning turquoise lagoon surrounded by lush rainforest.
    7. Cascada Las Conchas is a beautiful waterfall located near San Pedro Carchá that is popular for hiking and swimming.
    8. Monumento al Minero pays tribute to the region’s mining heritage with a statue of a miner holding his pickaxe in hand.
    9. Río Cahabón runs through San Pedro Carchá and offers opportunities for water activities such as rafting and kayaking.
    10. Reserva Natural Privada El Refugio del Quetzal is home to Guatemala’s national bird, the quetzal, as well as other wildlife such as jaguars and howler monkeys; it’s located about an hour from San Pedro Carchá.

    Cultural Events

    1. K’iche’ Maya New Year: This festival is celebrated on January 1st every year, marking the beginning of the K’iche’ Maya calendar. It involves traditional dances, music, and offerings to the gods.
    2. Holy Week: The week leading up to Easter is a significant time for religious observance in San Pedro Carchá. There are processions, masses, and other activities throughout town.
    3. Feast of Saint Peter: This festival is held on June 29th each year to honor Saint Peter, the patron saint of San Pedro Carchá. It includes parades, fireworks displays, and traditional food.
    4. Day of the Dead: Celebrated on November 1st and 2nd each year, this holiday honors deceased loved ones with offerings of food and flowers at their gravesites.
    5. Independence Day: On September 15th every year, Guatemala celebrates its independence from Spain with parades, music performances, and other festivities.
    6. Feria de la Primavera (Spring Fair): This fair takes place in March or April each year and features carnival rides, games as well as live music performances by local artists alongside traditional food stands selling regional specialties like tamales or pupusas!


    • Pepian Restaurant: This restaurant serves traditional Guatemalan dishes like pepian, tamales, and chuchitos.
    • El Rancho de Don Juan: This restaurant offers a variety of dishes including grilled meats, soups, and stews.
    • La Posada de Don Rodrigo: This hotel and restaurant serves traditional Guatemalan cuisine like chiles rellenos and enchiladas.
    • Taqueria El Paisa: This small taqueria offers delicious tacos with a variety of fillings such as chicken, beef, pork or chorizo.
    • Comedor Doña Chonita: A small family-owned restaurant that serves authentic homemade food like caldo de res (beef soup) and pollo en crema (chicken in cream sauce).
    • Restaurante La Estrella del Norte: A popular spot for breakfast with delicious pancakes, eggs benedict or typical Guatemalan breakfasts like huevos rancheros.
    • Rincon del Sabor: Offers typical Guatemalan dishes such as carne asada (grilled meat), churrasco (grilled steak) or ceviche mixto (seafood dish).

    • Parks and Recreation

      1. Pacaya Volcano – an active volcano that visitors can hike up to see lava flows and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
      2. Chichicastenango Market – a vibrant market where visitors can find traditional Mayan handicrafts, textiles, and fresh produce.
      3. Quetzaltenango – a city known for its hot springs, natural beauty, and cultural events such as the Day of the Dead celebrations.
      4. Livingston – a unique town on the Caribbean coast with a mix of Garifuna, Mayan, and Afro-Caribbean cultures and delicious seafood.
      5. Semuc Champey – a natural wonder with crystal-clear pools and waterfalls surrounded by lush jungle.
      6. Rio Dulce – a scenic river that flows from Lake Izabal to the Caribbean Sea, with opportunities for boating, fishing, and wildlife spotting.
      7. Monterrico – a laid-back beach town with black sand beaches and a sea turtle conservation project.
      8. Tikal National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring ancient Mayan ruins, temples, and pyramids surrounded by lush jungle.
      9. Lake Atitlán – a stunning lake surrounded by three towering volcanoes and indigenous Mayan villages where visitors can enjoy water activities like kayaking or take in the breathtaking views.
      10. Antigua Guatemala – a charming colonial city with cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and historic landmarks such as the Santa Catalina Arch and La Merced Church.


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