Exploring Jutiapa, Guatemala


Jutiapa is not on any travel list for tourists. Trust me, it was so hard for me to find anything on this place during my extensive research for our Guatemalan adventure. We were going with or without any information. Jutiapa is about 2.5-hour drive from Guatemala City.

Jutiapa Plaza

Majority of my family number two lives in Jutiapa, this is my father’s hometown. Family number one, my mother’s family in Guatemala City was busy working, so we spend time with them on the weekend, on a trip to the Lake, Lago Atitlan.

Jutiapa Plaza
Town Plaza

I didn’t want to bother anyone in making them drive to the city to pick us up and then drive back. So we searched for a bus while we were still here in the States. Nope, I couldn’t find anything, yet I KNEW there was a nice bus that goes to and from the city to Jutiapa. Finally, my aunt in Guatemala found the bus but it never came up in my searches. Again not geared to tourists. Hopefully, this post will change this, because there is so much to see in Jutiapa. I have only seen a tiny amount of Jutiapa.

TIP: You can find the bus at the bus terminal in Zone Four or Terminal de buses en zona cuatro in Spanish. The bus drivers or assistants are yelling out their location so you will find it easily. It’s about 30Q or about $4 per person.

Jutiapa Foodie
Grilled Fish

The transportation dilemma solved. I was debating with surprising people and just showing up. Then I realized I can’t do that, people work or go out of town. They still didn’t know the exact day I would arrive since we were playing it day by day with family in the city.

Jutiapa Church
Iglesia San Cristobal

We arrive in Jutiapa, it’s known as a small town, yet the population is 162,000+ according to Wikipedia. That doesn’t sound so big, when you spend time there, you get that small town feeling. I had the chance of spending a few months there some time ago and did enjoy that everyone says hola, buenos dias or buenas tardes. I come from a large family and they are well-known. So that also made it feel like a place that everyone knows your name.

This time I was on a time crunch and was only there for one week. So I had to make the most of that week, show my husband Jutiapa, introducing him to the most family I could and food, of course.

He loved eating mangos

We arrived to a get together, that’s how the family does it. Any excuse for a party and get the family to gather at someone’s house. This day was filled with introductions to the gringo that I brought with me, hubby. We ended the day with a drive, and showing hubby some of the amazing views of Jutiapa.

The next day we all gathered at a delicious comedor (small casual restaurant) for breakfast. This one is owned by a family member, I told you, my family is huge. It’s called Comedor Dayana and this is where Hubby had his first taste of real Guatemalan food. He was in foodie heaven. We did a lot of quality time with family and then we went to see a non touristic place. Yet I’m recommending you go, it’s beautiful and people should see it.

Jutiapa Comedor Dayana
Typical Guatemalan breakfast

My uncle surprised us with taking us to a cave, called Anda Mira. It’s in the department of Jalpatagua. It’s a bit of a drive but it was worth that drive. There are natural swimming pools. The best part is found if you swim past the swimming pool into a cave. You can smell the sulfur which people say has a natural healing ability. I thought it felt like a nice sauna and I felt I got my pores cleaned. I didn’t stay as long because it was too warm for me. Hubby spent a lot of time in there, amazed, he swears he felt better afterwards. Not to mention that he was happy feeling the fishes swimming past him and hearing the bats deeper in the cave. You can swim towards the bats, but we didn’t take that chance.

Jutiapa Anda Mira
Cueva Anda Mira
Jutiapa El Salvador
Quick stop to El Salvador

Then the next day was another family day, it was one of my aunts birthday, and our family is very close so it didn’t matter that it was a Wednesday, we went to celebrate. This aunt lives out in a more rural area, what we would call country living here but with mountains, hills and amazing views. So hubby was looking out the window amazed at all the beautiful nature.

Jutiapa La Vegita

We had such a relaxing time. I slept on a hammock and took a long nap with the nice breeze rocking me. Hubby took off with all the boys to a creek on my aunts property and he had a blast.

Jutiapa Quesadillas
Famous Quesadillas

The next day already started to feel like the last day, we were leaving the following day. So we were sad. Of course, through the magic of social media, a lot of us keep in touch, yet it’s not the same. So we took it easy, starting with breakfast at another comedor (small restaurant) Comedor Las Ninfas. You can eat at these comedores on the main street by the mercado. There are several comedores lined up next to each other. The hard part is choosing. Stop by Comedor Ninfas or Comedor Dayana, because I can vouch that the food is DELICIOUS!

Jutiapa DRocks

Jutiapa DRocks

Then we took a drive to D’Rocks Restaurant. Not to eat but to take in the view. This place is a little bit of everything, restaurant, event venue, pools and you can easily have a photo shoot. Well, I lie we all had to get something to drink, I was craving a licuado, it’s like a better version of a smoothie.

Jutiapa Pepian
Pollo Pepian

One more stop, we stopped at the Hotel Los Arcos for a yummy lunch. My hubby had bragged of making me a plate called Pepian, a traditional plate in Guatemala. I was not raised with Guatemalan food, so if you tell me something is from my country I might believe you. Well, that was a challenge for one of my aunts, who happens to make a mean Pepian. So she invited us over to have this tasty Guatemalan plate. O-M-G, yeah that good. Hubby made me something that was good, it just wasn’t Pepian.

Jutiapa Los Arcos
Hotel Los Arcos

We had a goodbye get together and combined it with another birthday celebration. This is the biggest reason that I miss Guatemala, family time. Here in the States, it’s only my sisters. One is not in Texas and the other is more than an hour away. Plus family means more in Guatemala, the bond is stronger than the fast and the I’m too busy life we have here.

Friday, the last day, we were heading out pretty early. Lots of tears and hugs and last photographs we managed to say goodbye. Guatemala City bound!!!

TIP: If you leave on a friday leave super early or you will be stuck in traffic for hours. Why? Its payday and for some reason that affects traffic. (That’s what I was told)


I invite everyone to make a stop by Jutiapa, don’t just go to the typical tourist place. This is in route to Salvador so if that is your destination, make a pit stop. Go by the Mercado, try a Quesadilla that has nothing to do with a tortilla with cheese, then go have a lunch at one of the many Comedores. I encourage you to try one of my family comedores and tell them the sobrina (niece) Leslie from the States sent you. 🙂



Leslie M. Guzmán is a Guatemalan artist best known for her creative explorations of world cultures. Her works capture the untold stories of people, objects and the places from which they come.

One Comment

  • Caitlin

    Awesome post! Jutiapa sounds amazing and it’s always so good to find a spot that’s not touristy at all. I’m jealous of those quesadillas, I LOVE THEM!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: