Like most Guatemalan cities, Quetzaltenango (Xela) is centered around a large glorious Catholic church.  Espiritu Santo Cathedral was founded in 1535 after the Spanish conquered the city of Xela and has remained the heart and blood of the city ever since. It is located in the parque centroamerica and can be seen well above the city from numerous vantage points.

Although Guatemala is predominantly Catholic, many other religions have established themselves throughout the country thanks to missionaries.  You can find loads of evangelist churches and even Mennonite communities as well as Mormons. In fact, you can find any religious establishment except Jewish or Muslim.  For some reason, I found this surprising. 

Most churches in Guatemala are either dove white or brilliant yellow-gold.   The architecture was sensational of course and the churches instantly became a focus of my attention for numerous pictures.  Here are some of my favorites. 

Here is Xela’s centerpiece, Espiritu Santo.

A closer view of the church’s immaculate detail and construction. 

Those loud bells summoning everyone to go to church!

The church at night was stunning.  It is too bad I wasn’t knowledgable enough to take a good night shot!  But I adored looking at the church from my perch at the Balcon del Enrique where I had my nightly wine.

I can’t remember the name of this beautiful yellow church but I loved the bright colors and its style is very typical of a Guatemalan chuch.

Another pretty yellow church.

The gorgeous white church of the nearby town of Zunil.

Stay tuned…


  1. These are beautiful churches and beautiful photos. What kind of camera do you use? That night shot doesn’t look too bad to me 🙂

    1. I used a new little pocket sized camera, a Lumix on the trip. But was frustrated with some of its abilities. Now I’m in Virginia and have been using my iPhone on all the flower shots as I bought an upgrade camera app and it actually zooms better. I am in the market for a new camera that is better than my Lumix and not a silly iPhone. My friend Lucy had a great one that I am going to look into. I need something that is easy to travel with and I have no idea how to use a “real” camera. Someday I will though. I have to say I am shocked at the tulip and flower picture quality on my iPhone. I am amazed how good they are for a phone!

      1. Yes, those flower photos are amazing. Maybe stick with your iPhone then. I know at least one professional photographer who prefers his iPhone to any of his other cameras. Eventually that’s probably all anyone will use 🙂

    1. I actually am back now. I was in Guatemala about three weeks ago. I took over 800 pictures so am still trying to catch up on all my post writing!

      1. That’s a lot of pictures! Going to take some time to sort them all out!
        Actually I still need to do that myself but I keep putting it off haha.

  2. I always love churches and any other religious buildings as they are usually adorned with so many intricate decorations.

    1. Me too, especially colorful churches. Wait till you see my post on Antigua. Some of the most amazing churches I’ve ever seen! I am working my way towards writing that post.

    1. Wait until you see the photos of the churches from Antigua. They were rebuilt after the earthquakes in the 1700s and the ruins remain behind them. It is so incredibly spectacular that it blew me away. I’ll get to those posts soon!!!!

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