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9 Best Beaches in Guatemala

By Molly Weinfurter


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There are so many beaches in Guatemala, which is a tropical getaway in Central America. It’s the perfect destination for those looking to relax in the warm sun or spend the whole day swimming. It has warm weather like Florida and Mexico, but with many unique locations to explore. 

Beaches in Guatemala
Photo courtesy of Bruno Girin via Flickr CC

Best Beaches in Guatemala

There are many beaches in Guatemala, all of which can give you the serene vacation you desire. Yet, if you’re having a hard time choosing where to go, then here are nine of the best beaches in Guatemala to help you with your trip planning. 

#1 – Monterrico


Monterrico is a gorgeous black volcanic sand beach on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. It’s within close proximity to Guatemala City, so it’s often one of the most crowded options. It’s much quieter if you visit on a weekday.

This beach’s long stretch of sand is lined with beautiful beachside condos. It has sights pretty enough for a post card, but it has no lifeguards on duty, so guests are urged to swim with caution.

#2 – El Paredon

Playa El Paredon is known as a secret of Guatemala, and it’s a popular place for surfing. It’s located 2 hours southwest of Antigua, and it has several surf schools and affordable hotels nearby.

However, the waves at this beach are a bit rough for first-time surfers. So, it’s recommended that you gain some surfing experience before hitting the waves at this beach. The town that the beach is in is quite small, but it still has plenty of dining options for visitors. 

#3 – Champerico

Champerico is another beach that’s a bit far from the big cities. It’s a few hours from Quetzaltenango and Xela. Yet, it’s known for its quiet, relaxing vibes. It rarely has big crowds, and it has a nice wooden pier.

This beach is a much better option for new surfers because the waves are much tamer than at El Paredon. Plus, many of the locals are happy to give advice to novice surfers at the beach. Despite being a less populated area, there are plenty of dining options within walking distance. 

#4 – Playa Tilapa

Tilapa, Ocós, San Marcos

You can find Playa Tilapa along the Mexican border, and it’s considered the most remote beach in Guatemala. This beach is found in Tilapita, which is a quaint fishing village.

It’s a popular destination for all types of travelers. There are lots of fish for fisherman, plenty of big waves for surfers, and just enough peace and quiet for a tourist looking to relax. It’s also known for its beautiful sunsets over the water. 

#5 – Livingston

Livingston is a unique town of Guatemala, which is only accessible by boat from Puerto Barrios. The boat to Livingston goes down a river, which is surrounded by the jungle. Along the shore, there are plenty of wonderful beaches to explore.

This town was originally the home of the Garifuna community, and later the Mayans. It’s known for its large mix of cultures today, so there’s lots of history to learn while hanging out at these beaches. The further you hike in Livingston, the more beautiful and welcoming the beaches will seem.

#6 – Iztapa

Like Monterrico, Iztapa is one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in Guatemala. This location was Guatemala’s original port, but today it’s more known for tourist activities. 

At this beach, you can surf, fish, and go whale watching. It’s also known for its scenic views, so many guests love to take a boat out on the water or have a delicious meal at one of the waterfront restaurants. 

#7 – Puerto San Jose

Puerto San Jose is found right next to Monterrico, so it’s near Guatemala City. It’s a port town on Guatemala’s Pacific Coast. It’s beloved for its scenic area, which has volcanos in the distance

This area is a great spot for sail fishing, but whale watching is also fairly common. It’s a quieter, more relaxing option for those who want to stay away from the chaos of the big city. Luckily, the nearby town has more than enough restaurants and shops for guests to enjoy. 

#8 – Playa Blanca

As the name implies, Playa Blanca is known for its pure white sand and clean water. It’s located on the Caribbean Coast, just outside of Livingston, and it can be accessed only by boat.

Playa Blanca is the perfect beach to visit if you’re looking to relax and unwind.  Since you can’t drive there on your own, it’s usually less crowded than the other beaches in Guatemala. However, there aren’t many hotels by the beach, so you’ll need to find somewhere else to spend the night.

#9 – Punta de Manabique

Punta de Manabique is a peninsula on the Caribbean Coast, just north of Puerto Barrios. It’s full of natural beauty, including a mangrove rainforest that became a wildlife reserve in 1999.

If you’re into diving, this beach has a beautiful reef with a diverse ecosystem. It’s perfect for anyone who loves observing wildlife while also getting some relaxing time at the beach. However, this beach is a bit tricky to access, and you’ll need to take a boat from Puerto Barrios to get there. Another beach that can be accessed that way is Punta de Palma. 

Fun Things to Do in Guatemala

Fun Things to Do in Guatemala

As lovely as the beaches in Guatemala are, it’s likely that you’ll want to do something else on your vacation too. Luckily, this tropical country has plenty of fun attractions to offer.

Here are some of the most popular Guatemala attractions:

  • Mayan Ruins of Tikal
  • Pacaya Volcano
  • La Aurora Zoo
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Semuc Champey

Most of Guatemala’s attractions involve exploring the outdoors and learning some history. Some of the most popular cities to visit are Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango, Antigue, and Puerto Barrios. 

Enjoy Your Tropical Vacation

Guatemala is a wonderful destination to travel to, and it has many beaches in it that are often overlooked. Many of these beaches are small, but offer plenty of peace, quiet, and relaxation for visitors. Plus, this Central American country also has plenty of other great activities for tourists to check out. So, no matter who you’re traveling with, you’ll have a blast. 

About Molly Weinfurter

Molly Weinfurter is a freelance writer and editor that specializes in family, travel, and animal-related topics.

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