El Quiché is an administrative district in Guatemala. (It is pronounced "key-CHAY", not like the egg pie.)
- The Ixil Triangle
The department of El Quiché is sandwiched between Verapaces and Huehuetenango. In the south side is a section of the sweeping centraly valley of Motagua. To the north, the landscape becomes dramatic with the rising of the Sierra de Chuacús and rain-soaked peaks of Cuchumatanes. The department takes its name from the greathes of the pre-conquest tribal indigenous group the K'iche. From their capital Utatlán, the empired governed most of other tribes in the area.
For the Spanish conquerers, this remote mountaionus regions remained an unimportant area since they didn't offer gold nor silver. Only in later years when large-scale commercial farmaing began on the Pacific coast, did it grow importance as a source of cheap labor. Thus the population began to suffer horrific abuses. Then in the late 1970s, the regions became a noted center of guerrilla activity and subsequently the scene of unrivalled repression.
For travellers, El Quiché has a lot to offfer in both accessible south and the wilder north. Chichicastenango is one of the Guatemala's most popular destinations. Santa Cruz del Quiché is the departmental capital. At the base of the Cuchumatanes, you will find Sacapulas. Heading north, Uspantan is the home of Rigoberta Menchu Tum, and an ecotourism hotel is being developing. Travelling around is bit difficult but the spectacular scenery makes it well worthwhile. To enjoy the travel even more, try to spare some time for the Quiché language lesson available in Quetzaltenango.
The region is regularly visited by tourists but it's very important to remeber that the ceremonies held hre are deeply serious and you should still keep your distance and be sensitive about taking any pictures.
This page was last edited at 17:20, on 6 August 2008 by Wikitravel user Episteme. Based on work by Todd VerBeek, Jim DeLaHunt and Bruce Alderman, Wikitravel user(s) Mariposa1311 and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.