||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (February 2010)|
Walkway over Rio San Juan, near the "Nacimiento"
|• Municipality||300 km2 (100 sq mi)|
|Elevation||1,670 m (5,480 ft)|
|Highest elevation||3,200 m (10,500 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||1,350 m (4,430 ft)|
|Population (Census 2002)|
|• Ethnicities||Awakatek, Mam, K'iche', Chalchitek, Ladino|
|• Religions||Roman Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Maya|
Aguacatán (Spanish pronunciation: [aɣwakaˈtan]) is a municipality in the Guatemalan department of Huehuetenango. It is situated at 1670m above sea level. It has a population of 41,000. It covers a terrain of 300km2.
Aguacatán is set in a mountainous area. From the central market, a walk of six blocks will put you in farmland.
Aguacatán was served primarily by dirt roads cutting through the mountains. The dirt road suffered from erosion, potholes and landslides. The paving of the roads to Huehuetenango and Sacapulas and Nebaj was completed in 2006. It now links Aguacatán to the Pan American Highway (near Huehuetenango), and to markets and opportunities for economic growth.
The Nacimiento del Rio San Juan is a natural spring where water pours up out of a small pool. The pool is surrounded by pipes that tap into the water supply. Irrigation from the spring explains the prolific agriculture in the area. The Nacimiento has a park with benches and a two-story observation area.
Aguacatán is the only municipality in the world in which Awakateko is the native language. In outlying areas, even just a walk uphill to Aldea San Miguel or up the mountain road to Chex, the native language is K'iche'. Awakateko is spoken in some other aldeas, including Llano Coyote, near Rio San Juan. Awakateko and K'ichee' are both Mayan languages. Other languages spoken in the municipality are Mam and Chalchitek. Spanish is also spoken by most residents.
A central market is open most days. Bus service connects Aguacatán to Huehuetenango and other cities. Internet and telephone services are available.
Poor economic conditions have prompted some residents to travel for work to other parts of Guatemala, and also to Mexico and the United States. Some have settled in Tuscarawas County, Ohio.
Aguacatán suffered much violence during the Civil War, especially in the early 1980s. The aldea of Chex was attacked, and is now five sub-communities.
In the elections of December 30, 2003, 11 candidates challenged the incumbent mayor. The election results were disputed, a rally of most residents called for a new election, and the mayor closed city offices and operations for months. The municipal government now operates from auxiliary offices. New elections are scheduled for 2007.
- Media related to Aguacatán at Wikimedia Commons
- Muni in Spanish
- Photos of Nacimiento del Rio San Juan
- Richard Renner's 2006 photos of Aguacatán
- Richard Renner's 2004 photos of Aguacatán
- Photos of 2002 church dedication in Chex