• Rodrigo G

Iximche: the second largest Mayan city in the highlands of Guatemala

Updated: Jan 13



First hours of the moring. The Sun has been warming the atmosphere full of mysticism of an acient civilization. The diagonal Sun rays pass through the mist that surrounds the ruins of what it was a great Mayan city: Iximche.


Iximche is one of the most historic Mayan sites in Guatemala that must be visited because of its proximity to the Guatemala City and its importance during the process of conquest developed by the Spaniards. It was the second largest Mayan city of the Guatemalan highlands following Q'markaj and belonged to the ethnic group of the Kaqchiqueles.

It's located approximately 91 kilometers from the Guatemala City, wich is equivalent to 1.5 hours on the road, in the municipality of Tecpán, Chimaltenango.

The park has a museum, picnic area, handicraft shop, bathroom and a a small cafeteria where you can taste the region's food and typical desserts.


The entry price is as follows:

  • 5 quetzales for locals (0.62 US Dollars).

  • 50 quetzales for foreign (6.25 US Dollars).

Iximche was a fortified city surrounded by cliffs. It had a single entrance with an artificial pit that isolated the complex.

It was fonded by the Kaqchiqueles in 1470 AD. These were initially allied with the Quiches ethnic group. Due to different conflicts, the two groups went to war. After the conquest process commanded by Hernan Cortez to the Aztec empire in Mexico, the Emperor sent a message to the Kaqchiqueles to warn them about the events that were happening. The Kaqchiqueles then sought to ally with the Spaniards hoping to increase their power and defeat the Quiches. They offered to help them in the conquest process since they knew the area, the roads and the other kingdom's location.


The conquest process was developed by Pedro de Alvarado and his brother Jorge de Alvarado in Guatemala. They settled the first Spanish city in Iximche. After various conflicts between the Mayan and the Spainards caused by the high tributes and the bad treatments, the Kaqchiqueles left the city in 1524. Two years later, the Spaniards burned the city and transferred to the Almolonga Valley.


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