San Marcos (Guatemala)

San Marcos on the map of Guatemala

San Marcos is a city in Guatemala and the administrative center of the department of San Marcos and the greater community of the same name (Municipio ), which comprises 121 km ². San Marcos, together with the adjacent town of San Pedro on the east Sacatepéquez a coherent settlement area, where about 80,000 people live.

Location and climate

The city is located about 250 km north-west of Guatemala City and 52 km north- west of Quetzaltenango in the highlands of the Sierra Madre at 2,398 m altitude. You can reach San Marcos from Guatemala City on the Interamerican Highway (CA 1) and at Cuatro Caminos branching off to the southwest National Road 1

San Marcos is located in the Valle de Candacuchex (Eng. "cold spot " ) near the 4,220 m high Tajumulco. The climate is temperate to cold.

Economy and Tourism

San Marcos and San Pedro are located on an ancient trade route to Mexico. On the one hand they benefit economically still from through traffic, on the other hand brings the vicinity of the Mexican- Guatemalan border due to the drug and human smuggling and problems. San Marcos is a trading center for agricultural products. The city is also known for its textile production.

San Marcos does not offer many tourist attractions. Worth seeing is the cemetery and the temple-like building of the municipality ( Palacio Maya ). The somewhat wealthier San Pedro Sacatepéquez is known for its public celebrations during Holy Week ( Semana Santa ). Both places are suitable as starting point for excursions into the surrounding mountains of the Sierra Madre. In Agua Tibia there are hot springs.


1533 threw Juan de León y Cardona on behalf of Pedro de Alvarado living in Candacuchex Valley Mam. Spanish soldiers and Dominicans founded together with Mexican mercenaries, a small settlement, which was later known as El Barrio to Corregimiento de Quetzaltenango. End of the 18th century, the town was almost completely destroyed by earthquakes. After independence from Spain, he was, together with the whole of the West initially to the Estado de Los Altos, the so-called sixth State of the Central American Confederation. A church dedicated to St. Mark the Evangelist was San Marcos and finally the Department in 1866 created the name. End of the 19th century, the Guatemalan government tried to end the rivalry between San Marcos and San Pedro Sacatepéquez by arranged by decree merging the city of La Unión. However, the Union held only until 1945. Both cities, each administrative headquarters of two different municipios, separates a broad avenue. San Marcos in 1950 was a bishopric. The former suburb of San Pedro is now slightly larger than San Marcos.