Quetzaltenango – the home of Trama Textiles

Trama Textiles is based in Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela. Xela is Guatemala’s second city, and is located in the Western Highlands, about 4 hours away from Guatemala City and 2.5 hours from Lago Atitlán.  The city is 2400m above sea level (pretty high!) and surrounded by volcanoes.

Xela view Scott James

The view from Xela’s main square, clouds hanging down over the mountains

Xela is famous within Guatemala for its cultural identity. The city has a strong indigenous identity, and you see many women dressed in traditional huipiles and skirts.

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Woman walking under window with Guatemalan flags

The city may not be as beautiful as Antigua, but many travellers prefer the more real-life feel here. There are few tourist attractions and not many people speak English, which means that many foreigners find it easier to integrate into the community and really get to know Guatemalan people and their culture.

Around Xela, there are lots of things to do and see. The hiking is fantastic – you can choose from three volcanoes to hike up, as well as more gentle hikes around Laguna Chicabal and the Siete Cruces ridge.

volcan cemetery

Volcan Santa Maria seen from the cemetery in Xela

Also close to the town is Fuentes Georginas, a lovely place to relax on the weekend, with hot volcanic pools where you can bathe. The highlands region is also full of small market towns, as well as the huge market of Chichicastenango, where locals gather to sell their produce and beautiful artesanías. Xela is also close enough to Lago Atitlán for a weekend trip to get away – one of Guatemala’s top destinations.

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Sunrise over Indian’s nose, Lago Atitlán

Within the city itself, there is a great range of restaurants, bars and cultural activities. As well as great Guatemalan food, we have a really good Indian restuarant Sabor de la India, great Dim Sum at Sublime Cafe, Thai, Mediterranean and some of the best burgers you will ever taste at Bajo la Luna!

view over Xela

View over the roofs of Xela

There are also a few great bars where you can go out to dance to salsa or cumbia, and a few great spots for all types of live music. For films, Cafe Red shows documentaries a few nights a week, Blue Angel cafe rents DVDs to watch in your own private cinema, and there’s a big blockbuster cinema on the outskirts of town for all your buttery popcorn and Hollywood needs.

Though obviously, no visit to Xela wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Trama Textiles! If you’re in the area, please do pop by and check out our shop and weaving school. We’re the #3 activity on TripAdvisor, so you know you’re in good hands!

weaving at Trama

Making some beautifully intricate fabric during weaving school at Trama Textiles

Work with us!

As well as our fantastic new paid job, we are always looking for experienced volunteers to come join us here at Trama. We have some great opportunities, and don’t charge any fees for our placements. Check out what’s available now on Idealist.org.

Support us!

You can support us by visiting our Etsy store, to see some of our amazing handwoven fair wage accessories and homeware, made by the women in our 100% worker-owned weaving cooperative.

Stay in touch!

If you’d like to stay in touch, check out our Pinterest, InstagramTwitter and Facebook. We share great photos of our products and the amazing women we work with, as well as all the latest Trama and fair wage news!

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