Tecpán Guatemala (or Tecpang), located about 35 miles (55 kms) northwest of Antigua Guatemala, is best known as the main town right next to Iximche, site of the last capital of the Maya civilization. The Iximche ruins have been dated circa 1493 to 1524. Though relatively junior in the scheme of Maya history, these ruins have their own majesty.
Most tourists seek out Tecpán Guatemala as a mere launch pad to get to nearby Iximche, a pre-Columbian archeological site, somewhat overshadowed in allure and reputation by the mighty, more imposing and highly excavated Tikal. Yokobsens got on a series of Saturday chicken buses and headed out with two goals: to explore both Tecpán and the ruins.
TECPÁN GUATEMALA – Getting there from Antigua Guatemala
You can go with a chartered tour company who will take you there for the day, mostly looking at the ruins, and for the dreaded local “souvenir buying opportunities” and lunch, out of both the tour operators get a kick back. But you know this, of course.
Far preferable is the DIY approach. To get to Tecpán Guatemala from Antigua Guatemala, allow at least an hour and a half. Total cost of return fare is about 45Q (about $5.50 US). Catch the bus to Chimeltenango (affectionately known and shouted out as “Chimel“) and tell the chicken bus wing man when you pay to let you off in Chimel where you can hop the bus to Tecpán Guatemala. Be warned that Chimel is a dusty and diesel-fumed environment and you’ll be on a main thoroughfare as you wait for your connection. However, buses come every few minutes so you won’t be standing in the less-than-ideal spot for very long.
Another thing to know is the bus from Chimel will pass Tecpán Guatemala and not let you off until about three to five minutes up the highway. Don’t panic; they have not forgotten you. It is very dangerous to pass the busy four-lane Pan American highway at what seems clearly marked as Tecpán Guatemala and the Iximche site. Further up the highway, the traffic flow permits travelers to cross the road in relative safety, and from there, head back via southward bound chicken bus.
When the bus lets you off at the bottom of the hill that leads to Tecpán Guatemala you can walk up the hill in about ten minutes or you can take a Tuc-Tuck for 5Q.