Known for it’s signature black beaches, Guatemala has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years. Guatemala is known as a bit of a surfer’s paradise, with it’s South coast filled with black sand beaches with rough waves just waiting to be surfed.
As well as the beaches that are in Guatemala, it also has an interesting history and culture, with the majority of indigenous Guatemalans being of Mayan descent. This means that there are also some great Mayan Ruins to visit here too. But for now, let’s check out the top beaches that the country has to offer.
Best Beaches in Guatemala
Probably the best known beach in Guatemala, Playa Monterrico is a must visit for the majority of people. Located on the Southern coast near the border to El Salvador, it’s worth travelling here if you get the chance. This is one of the more developed beaches in Guatamala.
It’s well known for it’s black sand, which makes it stand out from the majority of other beaches out there. Whilst you can swim at this beach, the tides and currents here can be pretty strong, so it’s usually advised not too for most folks.
So whilst the sand can be a little tough on your feet, and the ocean can be quite rough here too, it’s one of the best places in the country in terms of views. The sunset here is what attracts many to the beach, as it’s one of the best places to see it within Guatemala.
Another beach known for it’s beautiful sunset is El Pardeon. It’s just a little west along the coast from Monterrico, so many people choose to see the two beaches within the same few days of each other.
Of course, the beach itself is quite similar, and it’s filled with rough black sand – not quite what most people expect from a beach out in Central America. It’s located right by a small fishing village, and there’s not much else to do here than visiting the beautiful beach.
As well as this, the waves here can get very big, which is one of the reasons why it’s rated as one of the best surfing beaches out there too. Most of the accommodation here is also surf related too, so if you’re a complete beginner, it could be a good idea to book in with one of those to learn.
At the other end of the coast nearer the border to Mexico you’ll find the beach Champerico. If you travel around 2 hours inland from here you’ll come to the city Quetzaltenango, up in the Guatemalan mountains, which is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a nice area surrounded by volcanoes.
Back to Champerico. Like the rest of the beaches stretching across the South side of Guatemala, the ways here can get pretty intense, and therefore pretty dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Originally this area was built to be a shipping point for Guatemalan exports like coffee and chocolate, but nowadays it’s most popular as a beach destination.
Aside from the large waves, another reason why many people choose to come to Champerico is the great food that’s offered there. So if that sounds like a good combo to you, it’s definitely worth visiting.
Around 2 hours from the capital Guatemala city, you’ll come to Iztapa. There isn’t a great deal to do here, unless you’re interested in going and seeing the local football team Deportivo Iztapa play!
What is here though is another beautiful black beach, and quite a few different hotels and resorts to choose from too. Some people choose to rent a house out near the beach themselves, as it’s a good place to get some seclusion from the rest of the world. As you’d expect, it’s also known as a pretty good place for surfing too.
It’s not far along the coast from the biggest port in Guatemala, Puerto Quetzal. Here, you’ll find a lot more to do in terms of activities, including some pretty great hikes around the area. Because of it’s port location, it’s also a pretty popular port for cruise ships as well.
Livingston (Playa Blanca)
Located in a great position on the Northern coast of Guatemala, Livingston is a small town with a unique blend of cultures integrated into the small community there. It has a rich history of Garifuna and Mayan people moving there, which is interesting to learn about when you’re there. Because of it’s location, you can only get here by boat – there’s a lot of forest surrounding the area where it resides.
One thing about it’s roots is that it has a different cuisine to the rest of the country, and you’ll have the chance to taste some new dishes when you’re visiting. One of these is the seafood stew tapado, which is a must if you’re going to visit this beach town. The main beach here is Playa Blanca, which is viewed by many as one of the best beaches in Guatemala. This is a white sand beach, and whilst the water here is not crystal clear, it’s still great to look at, and clean enough to swim in. It’s also pretty warm here too.
Whilst the beach is only a few hundred meters long, the main reason people come here is to relax and do nothing. So, this is another great place to think about visiting if you’re looking for somewhere to chill out and forget about the real world.
In conclusion, whilst Guatemala usually isn’t the first place that people think of when considering coming to Central America, and that’s a bit of a shame. There’s more to Guatemala than just coffee and chocolate, and this includes their multitude of amazing beaches that are there for you to enjoy too.