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Review of Google Maps at Department Level

This page is the fourth in a series of reviews about Google Maps for Guatemala (beginning series page) and is part of a larger review section to determine the best interactive map site for Guatemala.  This page will review the capabilities and features available on Google Maps at the Guatemala Departmental level. 

Since there are many Guatemala departments (similar to states or provinces), in the interest of helping the pages load faster, this section is divided into three pages. Here's a list of all the departments so you can simply click on the name of the department to be taken to a specific department review, or click on the department on the map - the numbers correspond to the names on the numbered list.  The first column goes to the first page, the second column takes you to the second page, and the third stays on this page.

 Google Map of SacatepéquezGoogle Map of EscuintlaGoogle Map of RetalhuleuGoogle Map of El QuichéGoogle Map of ZacapaGoogle Map of QuetzaltenangoGoogle Map of El ProgresoGoogle Map of TotonicapánGoogle Map of JutiapaGoogle Map of PetenGoogle Map of SuchitepéquezGoogle Map of JalapaGoogle Map of ChiquimulaGoogle Map of SololáGoogle Map of IzabalGoogle Map of ChimaltenangoGoogle Map of Santa RosaGoogle Map of HuehuetenangoGoogle Map of Baja VerapazGoogle Map of San MarcosGoogle Map of GuatemalaGoogle Map of Alta Verapaz

1 - Alta Verapaz 9 - Guatemala

17 - San Marcos

2 - Baja Verapaz

10 - Huehuetenango

18 - Santa Rosa

3 - Chimaltenango

11 - Izabal

19 - Sololá

4 - Chiquimula

12 - Jalapa

20 - Suchitepéquez

5 - Petén

13 - Jutiapa

21 - Totonicapán

6 - El Progreso

14 - Quetzaltenango

22 - Zacapa
7 - El Quiché

15 - Retalhuleu

8 - Escuintla

16 - Sacatepéquez

17 - San Marcos

San Marcos is an important department for those entering Guatemala from Mexico, since it covers so much of the western border.  Google Maps does pretty well at the border crossing at Ciudad Hidalgo (MX) / Ciudad Tecún Umán (GT) except for two problems - Google Maps has this road labeled Hwy 1 when it is in reality CA-2, and it has Ciudad Tecún Umán labeled as Ayutla, which is a valid, but little-used, alternate name (I should know, I was stuck there for two days when campesinos were blocking the border).  I never once heard the name Ayutla while there.

The other major border crossing San Marcos is at El Talismán bridge, where El Carmen (GT) receives traffic from both Tuxtla Chico (MX) and Cacahoatán (MX).  Unfortunately, neither this bridge nor El Carmen are labeled, and the roads at the border don't even connect.  This is puzzling, since this is a major route if there ever was one, heading to Quetzaltenango.  This is a serious fault in this map, and renders it almost useless if you're driving from Mexico.  Now you know.

Major Cities:  San Marcos, Malacatán, Ciudad Tecún Umán, El Carmen

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View San Marcos Department Map in a larger map

18 - Santa Rosa

If you're going to El Salvador from anywhere on the western side of Guatemala, you'll probably pass through the department of Santa Rosa, so this info is important for you.  Not a lot of the secondary roads are labeled, but CA-1 and CA-2 are both labeled correctly.  Basically, if you're traveling through Santa Rosa, you're fine using Google Maps, but if you're traveling around Santa Rosa itself, I'd look for a better map.

Major cities:  Cuilapa, Nueva Santa Rosa, Chiquimulilla

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View Santa Rosa Department Map in a larger map

19 - Sololá

The department of Sololá, home of Panajachel and Lake Atitlán, is a frequent tourist landing spot for locals and gringos alike.  Most of the roads around the lake are on the north shore, and Google Maps does ok for the major roads.  There is another road that comes south from CA-1 east of Hwy 1 (the road to the town of Sololá).  Since it's not marked on Google Maps, my best description is that it heads south right where the Sololá/Quiché boundary meets CA-1 and meets up approximately where Hwy 11 heads south.  It's not an intersection with Hwy 11, but close.

Another major intersection that you need to know about is Los Encuentros Junction.  This is where the turnoff is from CA-1 to get to the lake on Hwy 1.  You can see on Google Maps where it says "Las Pilas" but is referred to as "Los Encuentros."  You'll see signs to it coming on CA-1 from the capital or Quetzaltenango.

Finally, there's a major road that goes from San Lucas Tolimán on the south part of the lake, heading west to what is marked "La Trinitaria" which is actually Santiago Atitlán, one of the major towns on Lake Atitlán.  Why Google Maps doesn't have it marked is beyond me.  You can see the road bordering the lake, but it's not numbered.  Likewise for San Pedro La Laguna on the west side of the lake, which is reached by a road coming off CA-1 roughly where you see Santa Ana.

Verdict?  Google Maps will get you to the lake, but not much beyond that.

Major cities:  Sololá, Santiago Atitlán, Panajachel, Los Encuentros, San Pedro La Laguna

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View Sololá Department Map in a larger map

20 - Suchitepéquez

The department of Suchitepéquez, not to be confused with Sacatepéquez, is a common pass-through on the drive from Mexico to the capital.  You'll probably stop in Mazatenango (known as Mazate by the locals) at some point to stretch your legs or stay the night.  The major road through Suchitepéquez is CA-2, and Google Maps has that down pretty well.  The major cities are all labeled along CA-2, but if you're heading south toward the coast, you may want to get a more detailed map. 

Major Cities:  Cuyotenango, Mazatenango

Back to Department List

View Suchitepéquez Department Map in a larger map

21 - Totonicapán

Google Maps has CA-1 going toward Huehuetenango marked clearly for the Department of Totonicapán, as well as Hwy 1 heading to Quetzaltenango and eventually, the border with Mexico.  Other than that, it's not incredibly useful.  A very important crossroads that you'll need to need is Cuatro Caminos - a four way intersection where Hwy 1 and CA-1 meet.  This is just south of where "Los Achiotes" is marked on Google Maps.  This is a major bus stop and crossroads.  Heading northeast from here is Momostenango which is barely marked on Google Maps.

Major Cities:  Cuatro Caminos, Totonicapán, Momostenango

Back to Department List

View Totonicapán Department Map in a larger map

22 - Zacapa

The department of Zacapa is a common pass-through going to the Caribbean and Izabal.  The main roads here are CA-9 and CA-10.  Google Maps does a good job with the major roads.  There are some secondary roads that cut some of the distance off if you're going from CA-9 to CA-10, though they probably don't cut any time off - either way, a more detailed map is needed - but this one does well. 

Major Cities:  Zacapa, Estanzuela

Back to Department List

View Zacapa Department Map in a larger map

Back to Department List

Go back to Part 2 of Google Map of Guatemala Departments Review

Go back to Part 1 of Google Map of Guatemala Departments Review

Go back to the best interactive map site for Guatemala (series home page)

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