Just five kilometers southeast of Quetzaltenango is the pleasant town of Almolonga, which has become quite prosperous by commercializing its excellent and abundant vegetables grown in a fertile valley.
It has a lively market on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, where you can see its rich produce selection, including the largest carrots you’ve ever laid eyes on and baseball-size radishes. The cultivated plots here, as in neighboring Zunil, are irrigated by canals from which farmers scoop out water with large shovel-like contraptions.
The town’s yellow and blue church, Iglesia de San Pedro, dates to 1608 and is now more of a tourist attraction with 90 percent of the local populace claiming conversion to Evangelical Christianity. Evangelicals point to the town’s prosperity and uncommonly rich produce as evidence of the town’s unique blessing.
Its annual Festival de San Pedro y San Pablo takes place from June 27 to 29. Buses leave Xela’s Minerva bus station every 15 minutes for Almolonga.
Just below the village, the road passes several hot springs known as Los Baños and popular with locals, though I can’t bring myself to recommend them, as they are rather dilapidated and dirty, and there are better places to soak farther along the highway.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com