Cobán, Alta Verapaz

Central Highlands

The misty alpine town of Cobán sits within the highlands of Las Verapaces. This moderately sized town (pop. 65,000) is close to several natural attractions and has good hotel and restaurant options.

The town itself may seem unappealing at first, especially if you arrive in bad weather—the town center is nondescript and can see heavy traffic at times. However, Cobán quickly reveals its charms as soon as you set foot in the countryside.

The mountains surrounding Cobán are filled with evergreen forests, coffee plantations, and freshwater streams. This idyllic environment makes Cobán a favorite of nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts; the town even has a small national park in the middle of town. There is, however a rainy mist known locally as chipi chipi that is present throughout much of the year. This can make Cobán feel drab, but the natural wonders and occasional sunshine make it more than tolerable.

Cobán is an important site for gourmet coffee production, and also produces allspice and cardamom for export. During the 19th century, Cobán had a sizeable German population. When World War II hit, the United States pressured the Guatemalan government to expel all Germans. Even so, there are still pieces of German influence scattered about the city. Sights in Cobán include a Maya archaeological museum, orchid nursery, and church dating back to 1810.

Cobán has some of the country’s best coffee, and while here you should try to tour a coffee plantation. Visiting a working coffee farm is a great way to learn about the ins and outs of the planting, picking, roasting, and exporting process. You’ll also be treated to a cup of tasty gourmet coffee.

There are a number of nearby attractions for travelers to explore. Some of the best include the Semuc Champey pools, a series of stepped limestone pools, and the Languín caves. Other popular options include the Quetzal Biotope, Chixim church, and Chicoy cave, all of which are south of Cobán. The Sachichaj waterfall, located north of town, is also a good choice.

Nearby Activities

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Candelaria Camposanto Tour

Cave Exploration|7hrs

Cobán, Alta Verapaz

4.5 / 5.0
Starting At$67
Candelaria Camposanto Tour

The Candelaria Caves are a network of 7 caves, formed by the waters of the Río Candelaria. Some of the caves have ceilings that are nearly 200 feet (60 m) high....

4.5 / 5.0
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Semuc Champey Collective Tour

4-in-1 combo|12hrs

Cobán, Alta Verapaz

3.6 / 5.0
Starting At$67
Semuc Champey Collective Tour

Semuc Champey is a natural, 1,247-foot (300 m) limestone bridge. It overlooks the Cahabón River. Pools of clear, blue-green water form a stepped waterway on top of...

3.6 / 5.0
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King Marcos Cave

3-in-1 combo|4hrs

Cobán, Alta Verapaz

2.3 / 5.0
Starting At$48
King Marcos Cave

King Marcos cave is best known for its enormous natural formations. Some of its stalagmites and stalactites are so sculptural that they have earned nicknames – one...

2.3 / 5.0
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Chicoj Coffee Tour

2-in-1 combo|3hrs

Cobán, Alta Verapaz

New Tour!
Starting At$48
Chicoj Coffee Tour

On this tour, you’ll get to take an informative hike around the Chicoj coffee plantation. Your guide will explain the process of growing and selling Guatemalan...

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Coban Orchid Tour

2-in-1 combo|4hrs

Cobán, Alta Verapaz

New Tour!
Starting At$39
Coban Orchid Tour

Orquigonia consists of a small park with a trail that’s about half a mile (1 km) long. It’s not a very large park, but it sprouts a large variety of orchids and...

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Cahabon Rafting Tour

3-in-1 combo|7hrs

Cobán, Alta Verapaz

New Tour!
Starting At$100
Cahabon Rafting Tour

Río Cahabón offers the best opportunity for whitewater rafting in Guatemala. The river rapids cover a variety of difficulty levels, ranging from class I to IV – all...

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Laguna Lachua Tour

3-in-1 combo|10hrs

Cobán, Alta Verapaz

New Tour!
Starting At$134
Laguna Lachua Tour

Laguna Lachuá National Park is named after the Lachuá Lake (or “laguna” in Spanish). It is located in Guatemala’s steamy lowlands. The perfectly round lake and the...

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Biotopo de Quetzal

2-in-1 combo|6hrs

Cobán, Alta Verapaz

New Tour!
Starting At$67
Biotopo de Quetzal

Make a trip to the Bíotopo de Quetzál to look for quetzals with jewel-toned green plumage. Their feathers were used as currency by the pre-Hispanic Mayans. They...

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