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Huehuetenango is a city and a municipality in the highlands of western Guatemala. It is also the capital of the department of Huehuetenango. The municipality's population was over 81,000 people in 2002. The city is located 269 kilometres (167 mi) from Guatemala City, and is the last departmental capital on the Pan-American Highway before reaching the Mexican border at La Mesilla.

The city center of Huehuetenango
The city center of Huehuetenango
Nickname(s): Huehue
Huehuetenango is located in Guatemala
Location in Guatemala
Coordinates: 15°18′53″N 91°28′34″W / 15.31472°N 91.47611°W / 15.31472; -91.47611
Country Flag of Guatemala.svg Guatemala
Department Flag of Huehuetenango.gif Huehuetenango
Municipality Huehuetenango
 • Municipality 7,400 km2 (2,900 sq mi)
Elevation 1,901 m (6,237 ft)
Population (census 2002)[2]
 • Municipality 81,294
 • Urban 57,289
 • Ethnicities Mam, Ladino
 • Religions Roman Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Maya
Climate Cwb

Coordinates: 15°18′53″N 91°28′34″W / 15.31472°N 91.47611°W / 15.31472; -91.47611



Huehuetenango (originally called Xinabajul in the Mam language) was already a Mayan settlement before the Spanish conquest of the fortified city of Zaculeu, which was the Pre-Columbian capital of the Mam kingdom situated just a few kilometers from Xinabahul. The name 'Huehuetenango' means place of the ancients (or ancestors) in Nahuatl which is the name Gonzalo de Alvarado adopted from his Nahua allies when Zaculeu and Xinabahul were conquered.

Many people of Mam descent still live in and around Huehuetenango, and the nearby ruins of Zaculeu have become a tourist attraction. These ruins are markedly distinct from other Mayan archeological sites; the original unearthed stones, comprising only a small portion of the original structures, were coated with plaster during restoration works carried out in the 1940s. There is also a small museum at Zaculeu which includes statues and small artifacts found on the site.

Huehuetenango's primary export is coffee.

Huehuetenango Airport (IATA: HUGICAO: MGHT ) is within the city and has a paved 825 metres (2,707 ft) runway and a small terminal building. There are currently no scheduled airline flights.[3]


The city currently boasts one Guatemalan top level football side with Peñarol La Mesilla (Halcones now) in the Liga Nacional de Fútbol de Guatemala.

Notable peopleEdit

Former president Efraín Ríos Montt was born in Huehuetenango.


  1. ^ Resultados de elección de Alcades Huehuetenango [1] realizadas en el año 2015
  2. ^ "XI Censo Nacional de Poblacion y VI de Habitación (Censo 2002)". Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE). 2002. 
  3. ^