Relax by tree-shaded gardens, shop at artisan markets and see striking colonial-era landmarks at this lively park set in Quetzaltenango’s historic center.
Visit Parque a Centro América (Quetzaltenango Central Park) to discover Quetzaltenango’s major attractions. Find centuries-old architectural masterpieces, visit a museum of natural history and browse market stalls for traditional Guatemalan handicrafts. Quetzaltenango Central Park marks the heart of Quetzaltenango’s Centro Histórico (Historic Center). Originally two gardens designed by Italian architect Alberto Porta, the park was redesigned by Guatemalan architect Rafael Pérez in 1938.
By day a vibrant ambiance spreads throughout the park’s well-groomed gardens, flowerbeds and tree-lined pathways. Sit on a bench and watch as locals meet to chat and read newspapers in the sunshine. Gaze over the city’s rooftops to the nearby forested hills. Check out the Ionic pillars and The Kiosk, a stone rotunda that celebrates the national composer Rafael Álvarez Ovalle.
Visit the park on the first Sunday of the month, when artisans from the surrounding villages set up a handicraft market. Shop for everything from brightly colored hammocks, embroidered bags and woolen hats to ceramic and leather goods. Most vendors are willing to bargain for goods.
Spend some time marveling at the resplendent buildings that frame the park. Admire the 16th-century façade and revered image of Our Lady of the Rosary at the Catedral del Espíritu Santo de Quetzaltenango (Quetzaltenango Cathedral). Check out the grand neoclassical Municipalidad de Quetzaltenango (Town Hall) and the elegant Edificio Rivera. These three landmarks stand on the park’s east side.
Go to Pasaje Enríquez, a Renaissance-style arcade on the western side of the park. It is home to a handful of bars, cafés and restaurants. Be sure to visit the Museo de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum), situated in the Casa de la Cultura at the park’s southern edge. See displays of pre-Colombian ceramics and pottery in addition to historical exhibits about the Maya cultures.
Quetzaltenango Central Park is about a 15-minute drive from Quetzaltenango’s main bus terminal, Terminal Minerva. The park is also less than 10 minutes on foot from the neoclassical-style Teatro Municipal. After sunset the landmarks that encompass the square are spectacularly lit up by bright lights.