Nebaj, situated at 1,900 meters above sea level, is the southern gateway to the Ixil region and one of three towns comprising the Ixil Triangle (Nebaj, Chajul and Cotzal). It is situated in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Cuchamatan Mountains, roughly two and a half hours north of Santa Cruz del Quiche in the department of Quiche, Guatemala. With its white adobe walls and cobbled streets, it is a remote and traditional town where indigenous culture is still vibrant.
Nebaj is a place rich in history and culture, where people are incredibly kind and openhearted. In fact, walking through town on a typical morning you are likely to be greeted with more "buenos días" than you can count!
The town is famous for its artisans, especially the intricately woven "huipiles" (one-piece pullovers) that have won it worldwide fame. Indigenous women weave these huipiles in complex geometrical designs in greens, yellows, reds and oranges. They are traditionally worn with a brilliant red "corte" (skirt).
The Ixiles, as people from the region are called, are one of the smallest ethnic groups in Central America. Aside from their award winning weaving, they are known for their tenacious adherence to a traditional way of life; their harmonic manner of living in tune with the environment; and their resourcefulness; as well as their lively fiestas held in honor of patron saints and Mayan deities.
Although Nebaj and the surrounding villages all experienced great violence and hardship during the Guatemalan civil war, the town is now a safe place where foreigners can walk around without the uneasiness that one often feels in larger Guatemalan cities. The local people are receptive to foreigners and very welcoming.
Because of its recent history, Nebaj is a hotbed of development activity. There are a large number of development organizations working in and around the area. This makes for an exciting atmosphere where people from all over the world can work and form strong friendships with locals.
There is also wonderful hiking in the immediate area surrounding Nebaj. You can spend a few hours or even a few days exploring the myriad of trails that weave their way through the nearby villages and surrounding mountains.
Despite its relative isolation, Nebaj offers all of the necessities for the traveler. Equipped with a hospital, pharmacies, hotels, restaurants and internet access, it is a place where you can venture into the heart of Maya culture and find the comforts you desire at the same time.