Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Colorful Quetzaltenango: The Markets in Almolonga and Zunil

Some of the most picturesque markets of Guatemala are found in Quetzaltenango, and one of them is probably the most important fresh produce trade center of Northern Central America.
This is Almolonga, one of the municipalities of Quetzaltenango, also known as the "orchard of the country". Its ancient name, Molon'ya, translates as "place where the water springs up" and this feature, combined with the rich volcanic soil is precisely what makes Almolonga such a fertile place.
Another market in the surroundings is located in Zunil, where the main economic activity is the agriculture; in this case, however, in addition to several varieties of vegetables, local forest and fruit species, as well as flowers, have become a strong component of the solid economy of its inhabitants.
Zunil is also home to Fuentes Georginas (sulfurous hot springs), located up on the mountains and surrounded by an extraordinary ecosystem, a cloud forest flanked on one side by beautiful farming lands.
In Fuentes Georginas there are several trails where nature lovers can enjoy a medium impact hike. It is definitely a place to be included when visiting Quetzaltenango.
As for accommodation, in Zunil we find Turicentro Las Cumbres, a little bit rustic but cozy enough to make you feel more than welcome. After a good bath in the hot springs and may be a hike through the forest, I can assure you that you will be delighted with the atmosphere at Las Cumbres while enjoying a succulent "quetzalteca" meal.
Zunil is also prosperous because it is home to the geothermic plant La Caldera, which has brought to the town and the surrounding villages different sources of employment.

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