Mayan Ruins Mam Kingdom Western Highlands Pre-hispanic History Mountains and Ravines

Zaculeu, Guatemala Vacation Guide

Zaculeu is located in the Guatemalan Highlands. Its strategic location was a challenge for their enemies to reach the Mayan group that dwell in this important city. Zaculeu is also known as Xinabajul which means "place among ravines" in the Mayan language Mam in Guatemala.

Zaculeu was a political ceremonial center and became the capital of Mam dominion, one of the largest Mayan ethnic groups. The construction style is slightly different as the rest of Mayan buildings, showing an obvious influence of the powerful Mexican city: Teotihuacan. The important city of Zaculeu also stands out for the talent of their artisans. They cut little figures of jade and pyrite, a strong material hard to manipulate. The distinctive archaeological pieces found in Zaculeu show a real proficiency of the technique, making it hard to believe that this was all hand made.

Attractions and Activities

Discover Zaculeu

The archaeological site Zaculeu has over 30 structures, a ball court, several plazas and a small museum that treasures materials found in the area. What makes Zaculeu different from the other Mayan cities is that their temples don't have barriers nor columns, also there was no hieroglyphic writing, stelae or altars found anywhere on this site.

Excursions from Zaculeu to other destinations near by

Chiantla is a small municipality in Huehuetenango that lays at the foot of the slopes of Sierra de los Cuchumatanes. During the 16th century a silver mine was discovered in the area. Today, Chiantla hosts one of Guatemalan religious treasures: Virgen Milagros de Plata, a sculpture of the Virgin covered in a silver mantle.

One of Guatemala's popular destinations, Xela is the second largest city of our country and offers a lovely scenario combined with a chilly weather. Its rich architecture and cultural activities will entertain you during your visit to the Highlands of Guatemala.

Salcaja is a peculiar town in Quetzaltenango full of history and culture. It hosts the first chapel every built in Central America. Is also popular among tourist because of its caldo de frutas, a hand crafted fruit beverage that preserves the gastronomical arts of Guatemala.

Contact our Guatemala Vacation experts today by visiting our Trip Planner!

Information about Tikal's history and what to do in Peten.
Information about Hotel Isla de Flores in Peten.

Location And Map

Zaculeu is located in the Western Highlands of the Guatemalan Department Huehuetenango. From Guatemala City, Zaculeu is 130km/81mi away and you can reach it in around five hours.

Zaculeu, Huehuetenango

Western Guatemala
Population: unknown
Elevation: 1,940 m / 6,365 ft