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Coban is a city in the Alta Verapaz department of the Central Highlands region of Guatemala.


Central Square in Coban

Coban is not notable for what you can do here but rather what you can do from here (see "Do" section). Recall when you visit that Coban is a large city by Guatemalan standards and has levels of friendliness and prices similar to the capitol.

Get in[edit]

The most common way to get to Coban from Guatemala City is using the Monja Blanca bus service from the capital, approximately four hours. There are also competitors, as well as more expensive shuttles. A ticket to Coban on the Monja Blanca costs about 40 - 75 Quetzales per person (according to April 2015). The Monja Blanca bus station in zone 1 of Guatemala City is on the 8a avenida between the 15 and 16 calles.

From the Western Highlands, regular microbuses run from Quiche to Sacapulas to Uspantin to Coban (you will probably have to change buses in each town). The road between Uspantin and Coban is only paved about half way, and has some rough stretches. Travel time (in 2010), including time spent waiting for buses, is about 6 hours from Quiche to Coban and 2.5 hours from Uspantan to Coban.

Get around[edit]

Coban is a relatively walkable city in terms of size (sidewalk conditions are horrible, however, and you should always assume that cars will take the right of way). For local destinations around Coban, there are buses that leave in front of Plaza Magdalena. You can take a taxi almost anywhere around town for Q20 for something like 5 Kilometers. Always get in the taxis that are marked with a Taxi number on the door, the unmarked ones are not licensed to work as a taxi. Another option is to take a bus (collectivo) that start from coban and finish at the nearest villages like Tactic, San cristobal and etc.

See[edit][add listing]

By walking on the street from the Parque Center to the terminal Market you will feel the Spirit of the Mayan workers from the nearby villages that surround Coban who come to the city in the morning to work and leave afternoon. The people all over, their smile on the morning and Saying hello at afternoon are the view.

the Main Cathedral at the town Center. Semuc Champey about two hours from Coban - There are private tours you can hire to get there that contains also visiting the Caves in lanquin. On 1 Avenida there are several tours guide.

Do[edit][add listing]

The real magic is all the villages the spread all over. On the the way, all the mountains are covered with beautiful Mayan villages. If you are looking for adventure, just ask some locals from Coban about the villages. In Spanish pueblos like Tactic, Tomtem, Yoho, you will discover a new world.

  • Coffee Tour Chicoj, Chico Farm (5km from Coban), (502)5524-1831, (502)4040-5388, [1]. Tour of coffee farm with zip line.  edit
  • Orchid Tour hike, kilómetro 206 Ruta las verapaces (10 minutes before arriving in Coban), 4740-2224, [2]. Nature hike through orchid preserve.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

Every Sunday there is a small crafts market in the center of town. Be sure to offer a lower price or ask what the sellers best price is. Same goes for the market behind the cathedral. Take a tour around and buy some of the local clothing. A Huipil, or women's woven and sometimes embroidered shirt can go for as much as 500 Quetzales / $50 USD or more depending on the quality and detail of the work, so don't be surprised if it seems like a high price for a non-tailored shirt. More simple styles can be found for about 100 Quetzales.

Eat[edit][add listing]

"Al Carbon d'Fiora" serves really good burgers as a local alternative to MacDonalds. It costs about Q25-Q30 for a burger and about Q60 for Churrasco (grilled steak). The food is really good and the place is hygienic although the atmosphere is nothing fancy. Fiora is on Calle Minerva a few blocks inward (toward downtown) from Plaza Magdalena.

  • Cafeto, (on the south side of Parque Central). Has a daily yum menu which includes coffee or a drink for Q20. Q20-Q30.  edit
  • Equinoccio (Cafe and Restaurant), 1era Ave. 2-57, Zona 7 (Residenciales Imperial), 502-7794-5171. Tu-Sa 11AM-10PM. Potentially the best coffee in the country, sourced locally and roasted on-site. The menu includes Spanish and international style tapas, skewers, sandwiches on homemade focaccia and baguette breads, salads, soups, full bar with mixed cocktails, beer, wine, and desserts. [3] Q30 to Q75 per person. (15° 28' 48.19 N,90° 22' 07.80 W) edit
  • El Mesón (Restaurante), Km. 207.7 Ruta Guate. - Cobán (a 5 minutos de la ciudad de Cobán), 7951-0141, [4]. 7:00 a.m. a 09:00 p.m.. Sells Kaq Ik (Turkey Soup) traditional dish from Alta Verapaz. The menu has different dishes from grilled lamb, pastas, vegetarian food, delicious coffee and home-made cakes. Traditional beverages made by Keqchí woman like pure chocolate, tiste and orgeat. $5 a $12.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

A new bar called Antick is located two blocks from the centro parque. The price is cheap and the vibe is very nice, Open all over the week with American and local music like the famous mexican band - Mana.

Near to Antick there is another bar. All over Coban there are something like 5 bars, 2 disco and 1 Stripping club (according to January 2012)

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Tourists tend to spend only a night or two in Coban on their way to visit Semuc Champey. However many of the people you will encounter in the hotels will be Guatemalan. There are a number small hotels around the main plaza, most of which are comparable in price. Well established hotels like Casa d'Acuña have built up a great reputation over the years but there are other places to stay which match in quality. Places like Casa-Tenango and Hostel Casa Luna are newer hotels that are becoming popular with guests for their unique styles.

  • The newest hotel and restaurant De La Abuela sits on a hill on the main road as you enter Coban. Their bedrooms and bungalows can accommodate families and large groups.
  • Casa-Tenango [5] is right next door to "los Faroles Hotel". They're a quirky hostel with artisanal influences, potted plants, and graffiti on the outside walls. It has a relaxed atmosphere and places to chill or read. They have wifi and a communal kitchen. A bed in their 4 person dorm goes for 40Q and a private double costs Q110.
  • La Paz Hotel is very pretty, relatively quiet, has a friendly staff and as much security as one could desire; single with private bath is 45Q, a room for three with private Bath cost 110Q (according to 2012). Next to La Paz are the B&B Rooms, a dorm-type affair run by a Mexican-American; low prices, cool ambience.
  • Los Faroles Hotel [6] is very beautiful. The service is personalized, welcoming and very friendly, as they strive to make people feel "en Su Casa".
  • Park Hotel [7] is located 30 minutes south of Coban towards Guatemala City. Swimming pool, gym, 2-3 restaurants, plus other services.
  • Hostel Misterio Verde, 2a Calle 14-36 zona 1, Coban. A beautifully run hostel, clean, laid back and very friendly. It has a clean and well equipped kitchen,with purified water, lovely garden and terrace. Washing machine and dryer (Q30 per 3kg load). Restaurant with well-stocked bar and great menu. Wifi and computer access free. Good book store and board games. Thye also have a natural candle making factory, Senor Jose will gladly show you his candle making skills. The candles are scented so the hostel has a lovely aroma. This hostel outstrips all the other hundreds of hostels I have stayed in. A great place to base yourself and visit the myriad of things to do in Alta Verapaz. Check out www.viveroverapaz website for things to do. Q80 per person per night.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

Most buses and microbuses use the northern bus terminal, located about 1.5 km from the city centre, rather than the Monja Blanca station. Travel agencies and Casa d'Acuna will book shuttles.

If you want to go to Semuc Champey, hop on a Microbus for Lanquin (anyone will know where they are, just ask). On arrival you will be hassled by a bunch of dudes trying to sell you tours or get you a ride to your hotel. If you don't have one, these guys would love to sell you one. Know your price before you arrive. Check with your hotel before you arrive to see if they have a free shuttle (most of them do).

Wherever you go, ask the locals how to get there and try it the locals way. It will probably be faster and cheaper than whatever else you had planned.

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