The name Jalapa alternatively means “sandy places” or “sand and bread.” Whatever else the name implies, it gives nod to mountains and valleys of this diverse region. Organized as a department in 1873 and located in the southeast of Guatemala, climate varies from the mostly cool Mataquescuintla area to the warmer plains and valleys near Monjas. And of course, coffee loves the volcanic mountain soil, cool microclimates. Coffees from this region place regularly in the Guatemala Cup of Excellence contests.
Jalapa’s citizenry is a mix of indigenous peoples and those of Spanish descent. Traditional customs and practices, social organization, dances, and religious cultures are integral to everyday life in the highlands. In Jalapa one can find bull fights and World Cup soccer players to horse parades and marathon runs, Jalapa always has something going for residents and visitors. One important program that has gotten off the ground in the area is called Wells of Hope. Focusing mainly on drilling wells in order to give people access to clean water, Wells of Hope also is helping to build schools and works to encourage self-sufficiency for participants.