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San Andrés Xecul Church

The famous yellow west facade of San Andres Xecul Catholic Church. Photo © Dawn Vukson-Van Beek. View all images in our San Andrés Xecul Church Photo Gallery.
Beach ball dome. Photo © Nick Leonard.
Facade detail. Photo © Dawn Vukson-Van Beek.
Facade detail. Photo © Dawn Vukson-Van Beek.
Facade detail. Photo © Dawn Vukson-Van Beek.
Mayan rituals in San Andres Xecul. Photo © Dawn Vukson-Van Beek.

A small village in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, San Andrés Xecul is home to a brightly-painted Catholic church adorned with a fascinating array of Mayan, Christian and agricultural images.


The founding date of the San Andres Xecul Church seems to be unknown, but a cross on the facade bears the dates 1900-01. The year 2008 is painted higher up, presumably referring to a restoration of the paint.

What to See

The Church of San Andres Xecul has an unusual dome painted in colorful stripes like a beach ball, but the highlight is the bright yellow west facade, on which some 200 painted sculptures of human figures, angels, monkeys, fruit, corn, quetzel birds dance in technicolor chaos.

The overall design recalls the huipils worn by local women, and the two jaguars are the top may represent the twin heroes of the Mayan scripture, the Popol Vuh.

Inside the church are dozens of candles, gory images of Christ, and chandeliers made from glass stones, coins and rosary beads.

Despite its Catholic overlay, the village of San Andres Xecul is an important center for traditional Mayan religion. Next to another yellow church, El Calvario, smoke can often be seen rising from outdoor Mayan altars.

Quick Facts on San Andrés Xecul Church

Site Information
Names:San Andrés Xecul Church
Faiths:Christianity; Catholic
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:14.904559° N, 91.482462° W  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of San Andrés Xecul Church

Below is a location map and aerial view of San Andrés Xecul Church. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.


  1. Iain Stewart, The Rough Guide to Guatemala 4, 188.
  2. Shelagh McNally, Adventure Guide to Guatemala, 179-80.

More Information

Article Info

Title:San Andrés Xecul Church
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:10/27/2009
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/usa/san-andres-xecul-church/guatemala/san-andres-xecul-church">San Andrés Xecul Church</a>