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North America > Central America > Guatemala > Central Highlands (Guatemala) > Cobán
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View of the city

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

Get in

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 55 Quetzales per person (according to January 2012).

The real magic is all the villages the spread all over, during the way all the mountains are covered with unbelivable village of the Mayan. If you look for ome time adventure just ask some local from Coban anout the villages, or in spanish Pueblo like Tactic, tomtem, yoho and you will discover a new world.

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

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.


By walking on the street from the Parque Center to the terminal Market you will fell the Spirit of the Mayan, Workers from the nearest village that surrounding Coban come to the city in the morning to work and leave afternoon. The people all over, their smile on the morning and Saying hallo 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.

You don't have to book tours or walk around with your nose buried in your LP guidebook to figure all this out. If you want to go to Semuc Champey, hop on a colectivo across from Plaza Magdalena (a big yellow shopping mall - everyone knows it, just ask) and go to Lanquin; get off there, hit up the dudes at El Zapote immediately to your right when you get off for a free ride down to Las Marias hostel, and pay 15Q for a mattress and 15Q for a tour. Simple as that.



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.


"De La Abuela" Hotel and restaurant serves traditional dishes and fresh seafood, but their specialty is the meatiest barbecue ribs in Guatemala. They have outdoor eating areas upstairs and downstairs surrounded by nature, the atmosphere and service are very friendly.

"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.

  • 1 Equinoccio (Sandwich shop), 1era Ave. 2-57, Zona 7 (Residenciales Imperial), +502-7941-7171. Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM. Grilled Panini style sandwiches, Fresh Carrot juice, and salad. Q30 for the meal and Q23 for the Sandwich ala carte. Equinoccio also has a tapas bar located on the same property, see Drinks below. [1] Q30 and less.
  • El Mesón (Restaurante), Km. 207.7 Ruta Guate. - Cobán (a 5 minutos de la ciudad de Cobán), +502 7951-0141. 7AM - 9PM. 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.


Cobán has many cantinas where locals go to drink and get drunk for cheap. They can be found all over town, are usually associated with trouble, and are not usually very nice or clean. Most restaurants serve wine and beer and a few locally known cocktails but for a slightly higher price than the cantinas. Visitors should still be wary of activities at the discos even if they look nicer than the cantinas. In 2010 some women were reportedly raped in one of the nightclubs and there are many reports of women leaving having been drugged. That said, there are some nicer places to go out for a drink in town.

  • Equinoccio (Cafe-bar), 1era Ave. 2-57, Zona 7 (Residenciales imperial) (Get off bus to Canton after crossing the bridge, walk another 1/2 block and it's a hole in the wall entrance on your right), +502 7941-7171. Tues-Sun. Really nice restaurant with full bar, great coffee grown locally and roasted in-house, and quality food. The owners speak English and are fun to talk to. $3-$10.
  • Antick (sports bar), 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.


Tourists tend to spend only a night or two in Coban. The most popular place to stay is Casa d'Acuna, which is a relatively inexpensive and reliable hostel. There are a number of other small hotels around the main plaza, though, most of which are comparable in price.

  • 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.
  • 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. Stay away from the Hotel Familiar, which is filthy (25Q), and especially the Tourist Information Office, which is actually a hotel and restaurant which sells information you don't really need. There are other hotels away from the center but they're hardly worth hunting down for the prices.
  • Los Faroles Hotel. Is very beautiful. The service is personalized, welcoming and very friendly, as they strive to make people feel "en Su Casa";).

Go next

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.

The best tip is to ask the locals and try the locals way. They work very well and fast, of course it will be cheaper that the regular way.

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