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Guatemala Beaches

The Beaches of Guatemala

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There are beaches in Guatemala? As a matter of fact, there are Guatemala beaches on two coasts: the Pacific, and the Caribbean. Because the majority of the country's most popular attractions are inland, most travelers don't make it to Guatemala beaches. But if you have the time, and want to explore the road less traveled (though not untraveled, don't worry), the beaches of Guatemala are a great choice.

1. Monterrico

Monterrico, located on Guatemala's Pacific Coast, is the most popular Guatemala beach. With black volcanic sand and a strong current, Monterrico isn't one of Central America's postcard-perfect gems, but that's part of its draw. Its wide, lengthy stretch is rarely crowded, and the massive condo structures that cram the sands of other beaches are happily absent. Monterrico is easily accessible for travelers; buses leave from Guatemala City and Antigua.

2. Puerto San Jose

Not far from Monterrico, Puerto San Jose is a port town home to 20,000 Guatemalans, the most of any town along Guatemala's Pacific Coast. There's a Guatemala beach worth checking out, and the sailfishing off the coast ranks among the world's best.

3. Livingston

Funky Livingston is a cluster of colorful wood structures wedged between the Caribbean and the rainforest. It can only be reached by boat, via a boat from Puerto Barrios, or down the Rio Dulce, a river that winds through the jungle. The beach right outside of Livingston isn't too inviting, but hiking along the coast leads to more remote, cleaner beaches. Playa Blanca is a favorite, though more easily accessible by boat.

4. Puerto Barrios

Puerto Barrios is a port town on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. It serves as a jumping-off point for Livingston, and for travelers heading to Punta Gorda on Belize's southern coast by boat. Puerto Barrios itself isn't home to beaches of note, but you can take a short boat ride to nearby Guatemala beaches like Punta de Manabique, Punta de Palma and Playa Blanca.

5. Playa Tilapa

Playa Tilapa is located right near the Mexican border, and is one of the most remote Guatemala beaches.

6. Champerico

A couple hours from Quetzaltenango (Xela), erstwhile shipping port Champerico is a popular vacation spot for Guatemalans, though as with all Guatemala beaches, it's rarely crowded. A massive wooden pier is a striking feature, dating back to the late 19th century.

7. Iztapa

Buses from Puerto San Jose often continue to Iztapa, one of Guatemala's most scenic dark sand beaches. Iztapa served as Guatemala's original port and, like Puerto San Jose, is now a base for some of the world's best sailfishing.

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