The town of Esquipulas is popular with travelers from other parts of Central America who come here on a pilgrimage to see the miraculous Black Christ.
Although the large white basilica is somewhat impressive, there is really little else of interest for the non-Central American traveler. If you really wish to see the Black Christ, by all means do so, but your time in Guatemala is probably best spent elsewhere.
Nearby, there are a few natural attractions, but little that’s been developed for tourism as in the Verapaces or Izabal regions.
Esquipulas’s other main claim to fame is the 1987 signing of an accord between area leaders outlining the establishment of peace processes to end the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala.
Getting to Esquipulas
The most comfortable bus service is via Rutas Orientales (11 Calle and 1a Avenida), with service to Guatemala City every half hour. Minibuses for the Honduran border post at Agua Caliente ($2) leave from across the street every half hour 6 a.m.–5 p.m. Taxis also leave from here. Minibuses to the Salvadoran border at Anguiatú ($2) and Chiquimula ($1.50) leave from an area farther east along 11 Calle, near the market, with similar frequency.
If traveling to Copán via the El Florido border post, you’ll have to take a minibus to Chiquimula and then connect onward.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com