Monterrico – Guatemala’s West Coast Getaway

beach at hotel delfin

During class one day at Lake Atitlán Spanish School I asked my instructor Marlon where he and his wife go if they take a vacation and he mentioned Monterrico. We had already been planning to go to Paredon and when our hostel there only had two nights available we decided to book our first night in Monterrico which we thought was a short hour and a half bus ride away. More on that epic journey here. Despite the trouble we had in getting from Monterrico to Paredon I am SO GLAD we decided to see Monterrico. The beaches, vibe, and amazing sunsets are well worth the trip even if just for the day.

Read about our entire Guatemala trip here.

welcome to monterrico sign

Getting to Monterrico

Transportation to Monterrico is super easy. We were able to get a shuttle from Antigua that left the next day for 80Q. The ride only takes about 2 1/2 hours but Monterrico could not possibly feel further away from the hustle and bustle of Antigua. We decided to stay the night but I am sure day trips are an option.

Where to Stay in Monterrico

We stayed at the El Delfin Hotel. The dorms were cheap ($6 USD a night)! and we even had the whole room to ourselves. The bar serves up normal hostel style food but it was good enough and the drinks are a reasonable price. While we were there a huge group from Pappy’s BBQ in Antigua was there celebrating their corporate birthday for the day. Besides them, there were few other guests. The pool is big and clean and the sandy bar area is a beach bum’s dream.

For a little more upscale but still affordable option the Cocori Lodge is a popular pick!

Where to Eat in Monterrico

There are not a lot of restaurant options in Monterrico. There are a few local spots on the main road but given our short stay we decided to just eat at our hotel and the one next door. They both had similar menus of typical gringo food mixed with some local dishes and seafood. Nothing worth writing home about but the price was okay and we were just happy to be at the beach.

Things to Do in Monterrico

Beach It

Put your toes in the sand, order a Corona, and soak in the sun! This is a beach destination in the truest form. There is not much of a city or nightlife outside of the hotels and nothing to make you feel like you should get up out of your hammock. Head’s up: the sand is black and gets super hot!

beach at hotel delfin

Mangrove Tour

If you absolutely must do something other than relax in the sand there are mangrove tours available. Just walk to the end of the street and you will be asked by numerous people if you would like to do the tour. We have explored mangroves in other spots so we decided to skip this one.

Swim in the Ocean

After spending over a month in Guatemala and having no access to the ocean I could not wait to get in the water.  We had been at the beach in Cartagena but for me the Pacific is as good as it gets. In Monterrico, the waves are bigger and more fun to play in, the beaches are less crowded, and the water is as clear and warm as it could possibly get. Be careful of the occasional rip current and don’t swim alone. Also important to note, no one really surfs in Monterrico. Most people head to Paredon.

Watch Sunset

Watching the sunset over the Pacific while drinking a cold local beer is probably my favorite thing to do in the world. Following that with impromptu skinny dipping while the sky turns various shades of blue and pink is out of this world. The beaches, ocean, and everything else in this part of the world are definitely not crowded so enjoy 🙂

If you are looking for surfing or nightlife you are probably better off with El Paredon or El Tunco but if you want to have an amazing beach all to yourself Monterrico will definitely get the job done. As I mentioned, we planned to get from Monterrico to Paredon. Which we eventually did so it is possible to do both. If you are interested in that journey click here.

Want more information to plan your trip to Monterrico? Check out the Guatemala Lonely Planet here.

Enjoy the beach!

-Grant

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