5 amazing things to do at El Paredon Guatemala + how to get there and useful tips!
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If you are thinking of getting from Antigua to El El Paredon Guatemala, I’ve got you covered! In this post, I will tell you all about this relatively new, but super hot beach destination in Guatemala, how to get there, and all the things you can do (and cannot do). If you are planning a trip to El Paredon, this is your guide!
El Paredon is the most popular beach town on the Guatemalan Pacific Coast and has made a name for itself as one of the top surfing destinations in Central America, if you know about it, of course.
I have been to El Paredon Guatemala twice on my trips to the country and in this post, I will tell you what are my thoughts about this sleepy beach town and how to get from Antigua to El Paredon.
The first time I visited El Paredon in Guatemala was in 2018 and I found a laidback tiny village with few hotels and beach hostels where all the young backpackers would gather to party and mingle. And nothing else, no wifi, not many places where to eat and lots of street dogs.
When I went back to Guatemala in 2021, I was told that there has been a significant development in the infrastructure with new hotel additions and restaurants and I was curious to check it out, so I went back.
I didn’t find much of a difference, except for more hotels and nicer ones and more places where to find something to eat.
As for the rest, I found a lot of trash on the street and on the beach which wasn’t really helping make me fall in love with the place.
However, I have to say that after visiting Monterrico a few days later (which is supposed to be a more popular Guatemala Beach destination), El Paredon suddenly became one of the most beautiful places on earth. I realized it’s all a matter of perspective and expectations.
So, although it’s not for everyone I think El Paredon makes it a lovely escape and something different from the usual things to do in Guatemala, especially if you want to relax after the strenuous hiking and a way to spend a few days in peace and tranquility watching amazing sunsets at the sound of the ocean waves.
Therefore I decided to write this guide to El Paredon Guatemala so that you can go prepared and make the most of your trip.
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Things you should know about El Paredon Guatemala
As I mentioned in my previous article on the Guatemala beaches it is quite clear that you don’t go to Guatemala for the beach. Guatemala is a beautiful country for outdoorsy, hikers, and nature lovers, but if you are into diving or you love basking in the sun on a beautiful beach, this destination is not for you.
Having said that, among all the beaches on the Guatemalan Pacific coast, El Paredon is the most appealing for many travelers. Here is what you should know about it.
- If you are looking for a peace and quiet destination to just relax while watching and listening to the ocean and reading a book, this is your place
- If you are young and want to party, book the driftwood hotel.
- El Paredon is a small village with unpaved roads and lots of street dogs
- there aren’t many hotels and some are closed in low season so it’s better to book in advance, especially if you want to travel during the weekend
- it’s the locals’ favorite destination too, hence the above tip.
- if you are a pro surfer this place is for you. El Paredon, Guatemala is actually considered one of the top surf destination in Central America.
- If you are not a pro surfer you should book a class in one of the local surf schools, read more info below.
- The beach is volcanic therefore the sand is black and in a hot sunny day it gets unbearably hot.
- There are a few places where to eat and not a good variety of options.
- WIFI is not reliable. If you need to work online El Paredon is not your destination.
- Sunsets are gorgeous.
Things to do at El Paredon Guatemala
Surfing at El Paredon Guatemala
Surfing at El Paredon is the main activity and the main reason (but not the only one)why locals and travelers alike love it so much and come to spend a few days in this sleepy town on the Central America coast.
Few people know that this tiny village has been put on the map of surfers only a few years ago when a Guatemala expat decided to open a surf camp there. It is a very simple place where you can either enjoy minimal cabañas or camp in your own tent and enjoy catching the challenging waves or just chill.
The place is still there but more surfing schools and board rentals have opened in the meantime creating a nice surfing community made of locals and expats in love with the surf and the peaceful ambiance.
The last time I was there I stayed in a beautiful bungalow in a hotel called Villas Las Olas owned by a Guatemalan man and his Thai wife, both experienced surfers who decided to settle there and create a business around their passion. The best way of living.
They also have a surf school where he teaches and he was explaining that surfing at El Paredon is for all levels from beginners to pros.
The only thing is that for beginners you need to wait for the right waves, usually in low tide, when it’s easier to surf. That is why is important to consider a few days there if you are a beginner because it’s not always possible to get in the water.
On the contrary, if you are a pro surfer you can enjoy the waves all day long all year round as you will always find the perfect waves. You just need to be careful and get to know the area, but if you are a pro, you are supposed to know it already. 🙂
Surf Class costs
El Paredon Surf House
- Surf class – 180 Q per hour
- Surf rental – 150 Q per day
Villas las Olas
- Surf class – 300 Q 2 hours
- Surf rental – 130 Q per day
Who says that when you travel you always have to keep yourself entertained and occupied? I used to think that way but with time and after travel burn-out, I learned that it’s ok to spend days just doing nothing.
Even if you are a Digital Nomad and work online, you should always find some me-time to just chill and do nothing. Well, at El Paredon this is easy to do because the WIFI is crap.
Unfortunately, I choose a hotel where they were doing restructuring works so I didn’t like to hang out by the pool surrounded by workers and noise.
But the room was beautiful and it helped me relax. Also, I could walk to the beach when it was not too hot and hang out in the nearby hostel where I had the majority of my meals and read a book by the pool. Or I walk along the shore watching surfers and people playing with their dogs.
It was refreshing and so much needed.
Watch the sunset
At 5 pm everyone was gathering at the beach to enjoy the spectacular sunset and every day was a different magnificent show. I believe it’s also one of the best times of the day to surf, magical.
Look for the Turtles at night (without disturbing them)
At El Paredon there is a Tortuguero where they collect turtle eggs and protect them until it’s time for hatching.
It is my understanding that the Driftwood hostel started this turtle conservation project where hotels buy the eggs from the locals who collect them on the beach (even for local consume) and hand them to the Tortuguero where they are kept safe until it’s time for the small turtles to come out and be released.
This way the locals have a job and the turtles are safe.
If you want to participate in this program you can check out with the driftwood hostel and ask to join one of their night walks on the beach even if you are not staying there.
If you are on your own it is NOT recommendable to walk alone at night on the beach! Even the guardian at the Tortuguero warned me and kindly offered to take me around. I couldn’t do it because I didn’t know how to get there from my hotel as there are basically no taxis either.
Check out La Choza Chula community projects
La Choza Chula is a local organization that aims to facilitate the organic growth of El Paredon as a tourist destination while respecting the environment and creating jobs for locals. They are in fact supporting the training and schooling for local guides and tourism operators of all sorts.
If you want to stay busy they have a lot of activity to offer and by joining them you will support their useful projects.
- Mangrove tours – to see the local fauna including turtles, and different bird species
- Bracelet making
- Guatemalan cooking experience
- Homestay accommodations
Check on their website to learn more.
Go Kayaking in the river
Something that I have missed, unfortunately, just beaches I didn’t do my research well, (hence this post), is this amazing kayaking tour in the Sipacate Naranjo natural park with the company Black sand tour.
The tour is among a variety of mangrove forests, lagoons, and sandy beaches along a river that is 20 km long and 1 km wide. You will also see freshwater turtles and Iguanas, besides many bird species.
It must be a great peaceful tour in the silence of nature.
How to get from Antigua to el Paredon
The easiest way to get from Antigua Guatemala to El Paredon is by tourist busses. If you want to try the chicken bus adventure, I don’t think it is the best time to do it.
Use chicken busses for shorter trips like visiting the small villages around Antigua or around Xela.
Tourist busses from Antigua to el Paredon are faster and safer and more comfortable, which are three good reasons why you would want to use them.
They are more expensive than the chicken bus but I believe safety is worth the cost, which is not outrageously high anyway.
You can purchase your trip online with Guatego but I realized they are more expensive than local travel agencies that you will find in Antigua.
Also, keep in mind that every travel agency make its price but they share the same transport with others most of the time. So you may end up traveling with people that have paid a different price from what you paid.
I realized that New Way Travel charges 110 Q for a one-way trip to El Paredon from Antigua which is the cheapest you will find. However, I booked with them my trip from Antigua to San Cristobal de Las Casas on my way back to Mexico and they were more expensive than others. So it depends.
If you are on a budget and you have time I would suggest you check out different Agencies in Antigua Historical Center and compare prices.
Otherwise, you can just book with the first agency and spare yourself the hassle to look for others. Sometimes time is more valuable than money. Or so I believe.
NOTE – all tourist transportation will pick you up at your hotel in Antigua and drop you off at your hotel at El Paredon. (and vice-versa)
TIP I suggest you should note the phone number of the agency so that you can book the return ticket and in case you have already booked it you can confirm it by phone.
When is the best time to go to El Paredon
El Paredon as much as the entire Pacific coast is an all-year-round destination. However, there is the best time to visit depending on what you are interested in.
Summertime is great to see baby sea turtles release, whereas wintertime is the best time to visit El Paredon Guatemala for surfing because swells on the Pacific coast are smaller and more perfect, ideal for surfers and body-boarders.
Pro surfers will love this part of Guatemala all year round, though.
For better understanding, you may want to read my post on the best time to visit Guatemala.
Where to stay at El Paredon
The number of hotels is continuously growing at el Paredon and now you find more options for different budgets than a few years ago and I am sure they will keep adding new places where to stay.
Here below I am including the places I have stayed at but also the ones I have visited while there.
INSIDER TIP – from my experience when you decide to travel to El Paredon you should book a hotel in advance, even in the low season, because there is less choice as many close for renovations. There are not many hotels and they have few rooms.
So if you want to make sure to find the right place for your budget and style preferences you better book in advance.
El Paredon is very popular among locals and travelers because it’s the best place to go on the Pacific Coast in Guatemala. So it fills up quickly, especially over the weekend.
This is the place that I wanted to go to in the first place, but it was not available for the dates I was traveling (and it was low season, go figure). It’s a beautiful upscale property featuring spacious rooms with minimal but elegant decor, a pool, and privacy for their guest.
Another new high-end gorgeous property with spectacular rooms around a pool and a manicured garden. It’s probably the most expensive in the area.
Paredon Surf House
I love this place very much, also for hanging out and having a nice meal around the pool and in front of the ocean. It’s the best option for both budget travelers and those who love fancy accommodations.
Surf house offers a cheap dorm for backpackers and more upscale accommodations that are a little more pricy but still affordable. Relatively good WIFI is included for the hotel guests only as well. So if you only use the restaurant facilities you don’t have access to the WIFI.
They also offer surfing classes and surfboard rentals.
- Surf class – 180 Q per hour
- Surf rental – 150 Q per day
Driftwood surfer is the place to go for backpackers and party lovers. The place is very noisy because of constant music, and pool parties but it’s also beachfront. So you have the best of both worlds. Also, they have an interesting program for turtles conservation if you want to participate.
Surfing class and board rentals are available as well.
Villas las Olas
This is where I was staying my second time at El Paredon. The place overall is cozy and quiet, and the rooms spacious and nicely decorated. I was kindly upgraded to a better room with a/c and an outdoor bathroom which was nice. They offer Surf Lessons as well for 300 Q per 2 hours and board rentals for 130Q per day.
Where to eat at El Paredon
As I was mentioning before there is not much choice on where to eat at El Paredon, especially if you go during the week and in the low season.
I used to go to Paredon Surf house and Ka’ana Hotel for breakfast and a late lunch because I didn’t want to walk around town at night alone so I skipped dinner.
I enjoyed my meals in both places even though they didn’t have a huge variety.
Another place that I remembered from the first time I arrived was The soul food Kitchen. They changed location but I read the food remained delicious. They specialize in Thai food and I remember it was incredible. Unfortunately on my second time at el Paredon, the place was closed. But you should try it.
It’s located approximately in front of the Driftwood hostel, on the opposite side of the road, with a small sign.
I have noticed that at the end of that road they have opened a nice little coffee shop, el Cafecito del Mar which I couldn’t try but you should. And on the street opposite the Surf House, where The Swell is, there is a new Ice-cream shop. A great addition to the small village.
Another place that I haven’t tried but I was recommended is Sandra’s if you love to try some local food.
What to pack for El Paredon Guatemala
Packing for the beach is the easiest kind of packing, a swimsuit, a pareo, flip flop, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent and you are good to go.
Although Guatemala is quite a conservative country and you should dress properly in the city, once you hit the beach you can relax and lay back.
To learn more about packing in Guatemala check out my detailed post.
El Paredon Map
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