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This department located in the highlands of the Sierra Madre is characterized by steep mountains, deep ravines, beautiful valleys and wide plains. When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in 1526 it was a Cackchiquel city.

The Montecristo small mountain known as the "Friendship Biosphere" located in Esquipulas was declared a Trephine protected area by the Central American presidents in 1987.

Chiquimula's average altitude ranges from 900 to 1,500 m. Some points reach up to extreme altitudes, like the Montecristo small mountain with 2,524 m, the Quetzaltepeque volcano with 1,904, and the Ipala volcano withy 1,650 m. Bramble patches, pines, mixture and cloud forest, are the most known four eco-systems. The first one represents the Chaparral Espinozo, where desert fauna can be found. The other three are mountain forest found in the highlands. At the Montecristo small mountain, you will be able to watch Quetzals (Guatemala national bird); auroras and other birds that live close on the trees and clouds.

Chiquimula has very delicious typical food to offer. The market days at the municipium of Jocotan are very important for the entire region. Jarcia and palm handicrafts are traded in large amounts at a local and international level.


The department of Chiquimula has an amazing history it was created in 1871.. The Chiquimula area has been economically and socially important since prehistoric times. In 1851 during the Battle of La Arada the Guatemala military forces had an important victory over El Salvador and Honduras Military forces. For this reason Chiquimula was named (Ciudad Procer) Hero City. During the colonial time it was the called the Kingdom Road because it was the commercial way from Guatemala City to the department of Izabal. One of the most visited places is Esquipulas. Visitors from many places come to this municipium to worship the Black Jesus Christ who is at the Basilica of Esquipulas.

Places to visit in Chiquimula:

Ipala Volcano and Lagoon

The Ipala volcano is a peculiar one, since it has a lagoon in its crater. The lagoon, of almost 59 hectares of diameter is located at approximately 1,500 m altitude. The fresh green atmosphere is an ideal setting for picnics, walking, taking pictures, and bird watching. Access is easy, comfortable, and safe.

Quetzaltepeque Volcano

The volcano is located 10 km from Quetzaltepeque town. If you climb the top at ca 2000 m, you will be able to enjoy a beautiful view and scenery.

The Pila Poza (well)

Take a relaxing bath in this well that is located in Jocotan town at the shores of the Rio Grande River. There are many cooking places underneath big beautiful trees. This place invites you to relax and meditate.

The Compadres Stone

Interesting story with lots of imagination! The legend about these stones has it that god punished two travellers going to the Basilica, who were had an affair although they were compadres . They were transformed into stones. Even today this legend about sin is often told.

Montecristo Small Mountain

It is located at the border with El Salvador and Honduras. Around it the "Friendship Biosphere" is located which has been declared as a Biosphere Reserve. At the top, you can find a humid, fresh, cloudy, and abundant forest with a lot of wild life. This forest is the heart of the reserve and an ideal place for those who like to climb, walk, study nature and for environmental education.

The Peregrino Historical Route

Many years ago you needed to cross a place full of trees, ditches, and deep holes in order to get from Quetzaltepeque to Esquipulas. It is an ideal place for walking, taking pictures, enjoy nature, bird watching, or just to relax and meditate.

Local fairs

Chiquimula, August 15; Camotan, December 8; Concepcion Las Minas, February 25; Esquipulas, January 15, July 25; Ipala, January 23; Jocotan, July 25; Olopa, March 15; Quetzaltepeque, November 12; San Jacinto, February 8; San Jose La Arada, March 19; San Juan La Ermita, August 29.

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