Monterrico is Guatemala’s main beach and resort situated on the Pacific Coast. Defined by its long, open stretches of black, volcanic sand and welcoming Pacific waters, the town of Monterrico is a favourite with families and weary travellers alike looking to soak up some of the tropical Guatemalan sun.
Aside from the usual beach activities of sunbathing, swimming and body-boarding there is much to see and do in Monterrico. I spent 5 days exploring Monterrico and these are some of the best things I experienced:
Sunrise mangrove tour
A sunrise tour of the 20km long Biotopo nature reserve is worth an early 4am start. Visitors are invited to take a wooden paddle canoe tour through the majestic mangroves and swamps of Monterrico. Watch as the sun slowly rises before resting in one of the 25 lagoons, connected by coastal channels and canals, to observe the local aquatic and wildlife including over 110 species of native and migratory birds. On a clear day visitors to the mangroves can see the erupting Fuego volcano in the far distance.
Turtle hatchling release
Monterrico beach is home to three species of turtles; the green sea turtle, Olive Ridley and the leatherback turtle. Throughout different times of the year visitors to the area can release and watch baby turtles as they make their first journey to the ocean. From September- February is the peak laying season when turtles make their way to the shore to nest and bury their eggs. The Tortugario CECON charity for the conservation and preservation of sea turtles, situated on Monterrico beach, facilitate daily releases of baby turtles during the peak season and for a donation of 10 Q visitors can sponsor a baby turtle and see it make way to the sea.
Turtle watching night fall tour
During the turtle nesting season guests of Monterrico can take night-fall tours of the beach with local guides to search for nesting turtles and witness as they lay and bury their eggs before returning to the ocean. Visitors on these tours are asked to be respectful of turtles and not take any flash photography that may startle the nesting females.
Whale and dolphin boat tour
During a season that runs from October – March humpback whales make an annual migration to the warm northern waters of the Pacific Ocean. During this time visitors to Monterrico can take boat tours from the beach out into the sea to search for and watch humpback whales as they make their epic voyage. These tours also offer opportunities to see native, playful dolphins and other marine life such as tuna fish leaping out of the sea.
For adventurous tourists looking for a speed thrill, Monterrico beach is home to numerous Quad biking rental services. Take to the sands in style and burn up the beach, this fun activity is one for the whole family with Quads ranging in size that can accommodate 2 – 4 people. No prior experience is required and the service providers give lessons and safety instructions on use of the vehicles.
Horseback tours of Monterrico beach take place throughout the days and are a perfect activity for all of the family. No prior riding experience is required and riders can choose whether to leisurely ride the beaches or pick up a little more pace. Individuals and groups are welcomed and horseback is the perfect way to explore the beautiful beach at length.
From Monterrico beach watch as the burning red sun sets on the horizon, sinking into the Pacific Ocean. Colorful skies and crashing waves accompany this display of nature and provide the perfect setting for some quiet reflection time.
After the activities of the day, Monterrico has plenty of restaurants and bars that offer a mixture of ambiences. Sip a cocktail by the pool, recline with a bottle of beer in a hammock or enjoy fresh food from the sea and shrimp from the mangroves. For those who still have energy there are a number of late-night spots, beach front bars and nightclubs where guests can dance and fiesta into the early hours.