Los Riscos

by Diana Pastor

For all you folks who like the hot weather, it’s time to dig out your swimsuits and sunglasses – we’re entering summer here in Guatemala. Remember, Easter is on its way and while Xela doesn’t have a beach, there are a couple close by that get packed out during these holidays.  But if you don’t like the heat? There are plenty of cool, fresh landscapes to take in. This month we take you to Los Riscos, just out of the nearby town of Momostenango.

Los Riscos (the cliffs) are unique rock formations covered in mineral deposits that reflect the light in dazzling combinations. They’re the result of centuries of erosion on the surrounding countryside and located as they are surrounded by mountains and forest, they make an ideal destination to go exploring or simply to relax and enjoy the view. The site is also sacred to the local Maya and there are often ceremonies there. It’s fine to visit, but if you see a ceremony taking place, don’t approach unless invited and refrain from taking photos without explicit permission.

To get to Los Riscos, take a bus headed towards Momostenango (they leave Xela by the 19 Av of Zona 3). There are two ways to get there – the easiest is to go to the center of Momos and take a tuc tuc to the site (this costs around Q10). The other option is to get off the bus just after Cuatro Caminos, at the turn off to San Francisco and from there follow the signs to Los Riscos.

Following the road, you’ll reach a place known as La Cumbre where the road curves to the right and there’s a turn off to the left – this is the road to Los Riscos. If you’re taking this option, let the ayudante on the bus know where you’re going and he’ll tell you where to get off.

Los Riscos is at a similar altitude to Xela, so warm clothes are a good idea, especially if you’re going in the morning or late afternoon. If you have time, consider visiting nearby San Francisco el Alto or Momostenango. If you’re there during the week, San Francisco is better. If it’s a Sunday, try to make it to Momos, where the market will be in full swing in the plaza.

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