Today visit the small towns of Almolonga and Zunil and the natural hot springs, Fuentes Georginas.
Almolonga is known as "the garden of Central America". It's renowned for the gorgeous carrots, radishes, cabbages, and other vegetables it produces, most of which are exported to El Salvador. You visit the town's bustling produce market to check out the veggies and the local ropa típica (traditional dress), which is about as
vibrantly coloured as the produce on display.
Zunil, another agricultural town, is located in a beautiful, fertile valley flanked by mountains. Zunil is one of a handful of Guatemalan towns that still worships Maximón, an idol to whom locals offer gifts of cigarettes, alcohol, and colourful candles. His effigy is housed by a different member of the local cofradía (religious brotherhood) each year. While in Zunil, you visit Maximón as well as the town's striking Catholic Church, the local cemetery, and a weaving cooperative where items like huipiles (elaborately embroidered women's tunics) are made.
After lunch, you take the scenic route along the slopes of Zunil volcano (the views of nearby Santa María volcano are amazing) to Fuentes Georginas, a handful of pools fed naturally by hot sulfur springs. Relax in the thermal waters or simply enjoy the cool, lush setting. Afterwards, you return to Quetzaltenango. (B,L)