Guatemala // The western highlands //

The Carretera Interamericana

The serpentine Carretera Interamericana forms the main artery of transport in the highlands, and this highway and its junctions will inevitably become very familiar. Most of the route between Guatemala City and the turn-off for Quetzaltenango is now a smooth four-lane highway, though traffic is always heavy. The first of three major junctions you’ll get to know is Chimaltenango, from where you can make connections to Antigua. Continuing west, Los Encuentros is the next main junction, where one road heads off to the north for Chichicastenango and another branches south to Panajachel. Beyond this is Cuatro Caminos, from where side roads lead to Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán and San Francisco el Alto. The Carretera Interamericana continues on to Huehuetenango before it reaches the Mexican border at La Mesilla. Virtually every bus travelling along the highway will stop at all of these junctions.