Being located only 2.5 hours by car from Antigua and Guatemala City at a volcanic black sandy beach, el Paredon is the perfect destination for all off-the-beaten-path lovers and surf enthusiasts. The small and lazy beach town is barely more than a single street that is only reachable by dirt road. The way to reach this laid-back surf town is an adventure on its own! But that is what it makes it so charming. Surf lovers from all around the world come here to ride the huge waves (with an average of 1.9m) of Guatemala’s Pacific Coast. It is slowly becoming Guatemala’s surf capital. But don’t worry, it is still far away from attracting large tourist crowds. For me it is the perfect place to enjoy some beach vibes when visiting Guatemala while relaxing under the tropical sun. Even for people who don’t surf, since there are many other things to do.
HOW TO GET TO EL PAREDON, GUATEMALA
My recommended way of transportation is either to go by private transportation or Shuttle. From Antigua there are two shuttles per day, at 9.30 AM and 1.30 PM. From Guatemala City the shuttle leaves at 6.00 AM or 12 PM, the shuttle makes a stop in Antigua. It takes around 2.5 hours and costs 165 Q. There is a lot of parking in EL Paredon if you want to come by private transportation. Just take in mind that the last 40 minutes are a dirt road, so your car should be able to handle it.
Shuttle to El Paredon: CLICK HERE
The cheapest and most adventurous way to get to El Paredon is definitely by Chicken bus (the local bus in Guatemala). You can take it from Antigua or Guatemala City, it takes around 5 hours and costs around 40Q. I haven’t tried it but from what I have heard I wouldn’t recommend it. Chicken busses are known to be unsafe and uncomfortable!
Read more in the El Paredon Transportation Guide: CLICK HERE
WHERE TO STAY IN EL PAREDON, GUATEMALA – SWELL
We found paradise in El Paredon, the boho-chic Surf & Lifestyle Hotel “Swell” is definitely the best place to stay in. It is one of the nicest places that I stayed in in my entire Central America trips and very Instagram worthy. And that for many reasons. First, the hotel is owned by a French and Canadian couple who is super nice as well as the other staff members. Everyone tried to make our stay as nice as possible and we felt very welcomed. The decoration of the hotel is simply amazing. I loved the style and cleanliness and so much attention to detail. It directly made me feel super comfortable there.
My boyfriend and I stayed in one of the swim-up suits, which I can highly recommend! You can dip in the pool directly from your terrace. Especially at night with a bottle of wine that is very romantic 😉 Another highlight is the private outdoor jungle shower, that is integrated in the room. Simply amazing! And the room is very tastefully decorated and very clean. We slept super well with the fresh breeze of the air-conditioning. It was very quiet and relaxing.
The breakfast is very delicious, I recommend the yogurt bowl with granola and fruits. Together with a French Press coffee (one of our absolute favorites <3) and a Zucchini bread with cream cheese and chocolate chips. Wow! I was so surprised how good this Zucchini bread was! I kept ordering it over and over again during my stay.
The day we spent with sipping delicious cocktails in the pool or reading a book in the hammock. Especially in the morning around 7.30 AM and in the afternoon around 5.30 PM, it was nice to walk to the beach and have a swim in the sea, because waves are lower at this time of the day. It’s only a 3 min walk from the hotel to the beach. After the swim we relaxed in the hotel own chill out area at the beach and watched the surfers. They have some sun launchers there and some hammocks with sea views. Such a great idea! Next time I want to try surfing!
Swell also has great Internet and is the perfect place for people who work remotely like me. You have plenty of shady places to sit with plug and you have the chance to meet other digital nomads here and exchange ideas. Last, I wanted to mention the Yoga area under the roof. Such an amazing view, and a fresh sea breeze thanks to its big open windows, makes it to the perfect hangout area! We will definitely be back <3
Book your accommodation at Swell: CLICK HERE
WHAT TO DO IN EL PAREDON, GUATEMALA
There are a few things to do in EL Paredon besides slurping cocktails, relaxing in the hammock or swimming in the sea, it provides a variety of activities. Here are some of the things you can do.
El Paredon is known to be a surfer’s paradise with nice waves all year around. The waves are suitable for all levels, beginners and experienced surfers alike. Depending on what level you are you should see what the best time is to surf for you. Generally speaking, the best time for surfing is from 6 to 9 AM and 4 to 6.30 PM, when the sea is glassier. There are many surf schools offering classes or renting out boards,
WATCH BABY TURTLES HATCH
A real highlight is to watch hundreds of baby turtles hatch at the beach early in the morning. It is fascinating to see the little babies running towards the water and disappearing in the big great ocean. You have to be lucky so to come in hatching season which is from mid-September to mid-December. You can help release the baby turtles into the ocean. Driftwood Hostel has a meet up spot every morning at 5.45 AM to walk to the turtle hatchery. You are asked for a donation in exchange.
WATCH TURTLES NESTING
Being an important nesting site for green sea and leatherback turtles, you can watch something truly unique here from June to November, with August and September being the peak time. You can observe how the turtles lay their eggs on the beach at night. The tour is offered for free by the Paredon-Surf-House.
GO HORSEBACK RIDING
For 150 Q per hour you can ride a horse along the beach. I recommend you do that during either sunrise or sunset, otherwise it will be super-hot, and you won’t be able to enjoy the ride! The horses in El Paredon seemed well taken care of.
Learn how the locals cook and get an authentic experience in how to make the traditional Guatemalan tortillas, ticucas, empanadas and a delicious Guatemalan lunch. The tour is offered by La-Choza-Chula’s-Nonprofit-organization and all profits go to educational projects in the village! It costs around 12 Dollars per person. Book it HERE
TURTLE AND SALT FARM TOUR
La-Choza-Chula’s-Nonprofit-organization will take you on a 20-minute boat ride from El Paredon to watch turtles in a beautiful spot. On the way back you will pass the salt farms and a local guide will explain you the extraction process. Enjoz the beautiful sunset from the boat. Turtles are present in El Paredon all year around! Book it HERE
La-Choza-Chula’s-Nonprofit-organization offers a 2-hour tour with a traditional lancha boat. A local guide will paddle you through the beautiful mangroves of the Sipacate El Naranjo National Park. He will show you different wildlife and teach you the local way of fishing. Book it HERE
The best wave breaks between December and April. Bring cash! There are no cash machines in El Paredon or nearby. It is still a very unspoiled place; I am sure in the future this will change so don’t wait to long to visit!
It has been a very nice & relaxing time in El Paredon! Have you ever visited? Do you maybe have something to add to my to do list or any other advice for fellow travelers? Share it with us in a comment below.
If you love secluded beaches and you are currently traveling through Central America, you should check out my Blog post about: The Corn Islands – A Secluded Island Paradise in Nicaragua.