- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
- Off the beaten track
I don't recommend visiting the town itself, unless you're curious, your trip to Guatemala lasts more than three weeks, and you want to discover a common, urbanised Guatemalan town so ordinarily ugly. Aside from some thermal bath facilities (I prefer the Santa María de Zunil establishment or even Fuentes Georginas) and its interesting colonial Catholic church, you should note the abundance of evangelical temples: Almolonga greatly reveals the growing phenomenon of evangelical sects, one aspect of Americanisation which makes Guatemalan society work in a very visible way and which provokes division and depoliticisation.
Above all, I love to visit Cerro Quemado ("Burnt Hill"). You have to go on a Saturday and especially on a Sunday morning: it was there, out in the open air, that I was most impressed by the Evangelists' exhibitionist and vivid demonstrations of faith. A rocky hill, this place is splendid. And everywhere there are clusters of believers praying, making "miracles" out of charlatans, weeping and wailing at great lengths, and shouting "Hallelujah". Looking up, I saw Israeli flags flapping here and there, which made me think of the bibical Israel more so than the actual state. It's at the top, where a sea of volcanic rocks form a lunar landscape, that the panorama is most impressive, with its syncretic altars and hundreds of Evangelists. The place has a sacred virtue according to the Mayan culture.
On each visit, as I headed back down, I was saddened when I saw the abundance of waste left by the priors in this place that they consider so sacred: Guatemala still has a lot to learn regarding environmental awareness.