Leaving Quetzaltenango you can head west to the little-visited department of San Marcos – home of the country’s highest volcano, Tajumulco, and some magnificent highland scenery. The route passes through Ostuncalco and then the twin towns of San Marcos and San Pedro Sacatepéquez (these form the main population centre in these parts but hold little interest for visitors).

Northwest of here there’s some magnificent high country, and a paved road that fringes the Tajumulco and Tacaná volcanoes. Continuing along this remote route you pass through the isolated villages of Tectitán and Cuilco, and can eventually loop up to the Carretera Interamericana.

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