El Paredon is the most gorgeous little surf town on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. I spent 4 days earlier this month on the volcanic black sands of El Paredon and so if you’re looking for an insight into what to expect, where to stay and the best things to do in El Paredon Guatemala – don’t move an inch. I got you covered!
Unlike many other surf towns in Central America, El Paredon is a very quiet one. You might not get quite the array of ex-pat run juice bars and sunset cocktail joints but you are guaranteed a Guatemalan experience.
Oh, and, how amazing is this…
You can enjoy the sunset AND the sunrise from the same spot on El Paredon beach. How magical is that!? I don’t think I’ve ever travelled to a place where you can enjoy both sunrise and sunset from the same spot on the same day!
Whether you’re an avid surfer, yogi, beach volleyballer or beach bum, I think we can all agree that getting to enjoy the sunrise and sunset light in one day is nothing short of a dream.
El Paredon may not be at the top of everyone’s bucket lists for Guatemala but it’s certainly one of the most beautiful places in Guatemala and, if you have time, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s only 3 hours from Lake Atitlan or 2 hours from Antigua.
El Paredon is the spot to get your fix of saltwater and to soak up some beach life and surf lessons!
If you’re planning a trip to El Paredon and are looking for how to get to El Paredon, where to stay in El Paredon, where to eat in El Paredon and what do to in El Paredon, this El Paredon travel guide will answer all of your questions.
And if this El Paredon travel guide doesn’t, drop me a comment below and I’ll update it for you!
Where to stay in El Paredon Guatemala 2022?
So El Paredon is small. A lot smaller than I’d imagined. And for that reason (you’ll see when you get there), it’s easy to see how it gets fully booked.
If you’re planning to visit El Paredon and know your dates, all I’d say is make a reservation/book your accommodation ahead of time. About 10 days before I visited El Paredon, there seemed to be reasonable availability on Airbnb / Booking.com but 6 days before? It had literally all gone. This was during peak season in January 2022.
Popular places to stay include:
- Driftwood Surfer Hostel
You can opt for a private room or dorms here. Driftwood is ‘the place everyone talks about’ but I didn’t see the WOW factor myself. I think it’s popular because of its undeniably popular location (right on the beachfront) and because word has caught on and lots of people hang out here. There’s a bar and a restaurant if you’re not a guest so you can always enjoy Driftwood without staying here.
- Mellow Hostel
Set back just 5 minutes walk from the beachfront, Mellow Hostel also has a wonderful reputation as being somewhere social to stay but without the intense party vibes. Again you can opt for a dorm room, beach shack or private room! If you’re not a guest you can get a day pass for the pool and to chill out in the gorgeous setting.
- The Surf House at El Paredon
A touch of Bali… in a Guatemalan surf hotel. The Surf House is a super cool place to stay (on the beachfront!) and offers the balance of tranquil vibes around the pool along with medium doses of ‘let’s get in the ocean and surf baby!’ You can opt for beachfront bungalows, shared dorms (perfect for solo travellers) and sea view suites! Choose your slice of paradise!
- Airbnb casita!
There are so many Airbnb’s to choose from in El Paredon. I picked one of the very last available when I booked (Sunrise Hostal) and it was perfect for what I was looking for. £25 for a little surf hut, hammock out the front, outdoor shower and a 5-minute walk from the beach. Happy days!
Let’s see 12 best things to do in El Paredon, Guatemala 2022 as below detail :
1. Rent a board and surf!
Most people, myself included, will head to the Pacific Coast to get their dose of saltwater whilst in Guatemala. Known for its consistent waves, El Paredon is a perfect place to get in and try your hand at surfing.
Between June and October (rainy season) is when you’ll find the biggest waves in El Paredon so do some research if surfing is something you’re keen to do. After witnessing the force of the waves in Puerto Escondido, further up the coast, it’s safe to say you want to have an idea of what to expect before you book a surf trip!
Surfing or learning to surf is one of the best things to do in El Paredon and with it being such a small beach town, ocean time is one of the only things to do!
Most accommodations will offer surf hire and surf lessons to guest and if they don’t have the instructors / equipment themselves, they will be able to make arrangements for you. Message your host / accommodation ahead of time to arrange.
2. Eat at one of the local restaurants
Eating local is one of my favourite things to do in Guatemala and is one of the best things to do in El Paredon because 1. It’s the most affordable way to eat and 2. you get the local experience.
Local experiences are why we travel! To soak up and immerse ourselves in different languages, cultures, tastes and traditions.
A local meal will cost you around 25-35Q in El Paredon and a more ex-pat run establishment will cost around 60-80Q.
A couple of local places I loved in El Paredon were:
- Sandra’s – on the main street. Grab a Rosa de Jamaica after a surf and a burrito / traditional Guatemalan breakfast!
- Yoli’s local cuisine – tucked away but always busy! Grab a coco frio, the veggie burger or some fresh fish!
3. Dine at one of the food huts by the beach
There are these 3 little huts located just behind Pakalolo Heladeria Ice Cream. I couldn’t work out which ones were open and when, it was kind of pot luck… turning up and seeing if they were open!
When they were open.. the food was amazing!
- Stoneoven pizzas and cervezas at Olivias pizza (bottom left, duh)
- Ayurveda cuisine at Dosha (bottom right)
4. Head to the beach for sunset
As I’ve mentioned, El Paredon is small. The nice thing about that is, you can lose yourself in your day and then when the light begins to drop and the sunset oranges appear… you just drop everything and head to the beach. It’s never far!
Watching the sun rise and the sun set is one of the best things to do in El Paredon for sure. If you’re not an early riser – the sunset is for you!
You’ll be watching the sun go down after another day in paradise with everyone else in El Paredon, it’s a social time to be at the beach for sure! Grab some drinks, some snacks and maybe your surfboard too – go soak up this glorious light.
5. Book a tour at La Choza Chula
La Choza Chula are located in the heart of El Paredon where you can visit their shop to book a tour or to shop the local ecological products made by the local women.
Their mission is to create locally-driven projects that ensure the educational and environmental development of El Paredón and neighbouring communities. La Choza Chula are a social enterprise and rely on donations/tour bookings to drive their mission – another reason to book your adventures here!
Open Sea Fishing tour
This is a really magical experience, you head out during sunrise and on a clear day, you’ll see the 3 volcanoes. The local fisherman will teach some fishing techniques before you have a go at fishing for yourself. You can choose to keep the fish to cook or donate some of the fish to the local families.
Mangrove fishing tour
On this tour, you take a little boat into the mangroves with a local guide. You’ll explore deep into the mangrove and see all the different species living there whilst learning about the importance of mangroves here in El Paredon. Afterwards, you get the chance to try fishing, the local way!
This tour takes you on a boat with a local guide. You’ll drive past lots of birds (some of which are migrating up north to Alaska or some that are migrating down south) as pass the mouth to the ocean and then head to a place where turtles have been living for hundreds of years. You’ll get to see their heads pop up to breathe! You’ll then stop off at a local salt farm where you can see the process of the natural salt extraction here in Guatemala. A really wholesome tour exposing you to the abundance of Guatemala and the species that thrive within it.
Book your tour and enquire today via Instagram @lachozachula or WhatsApp +502 53872886
6. Book a local experience
Within their mission, La Choza Chula also offer local experiences that will immerse you deep into the local culture and will give you the unique chance to see and experience the way the locals do things.
If you’re looking to enhance your trip to the Pacific Coast, one of the best things to do in El Paredon is.. get local!
La Choza Chula offers homestays with local families. This is a really unique experience because you really get to share and experience how the local people here in El Paredon live. The local families La Choza Chula work with are very warm and friendly and love to learn about the new cultures too. You will be given your own room, communal kitchen and bathroom and a communal area where you can chill on some hammocks.
Bracelet making class
Take a bracelet making class with some of the local girls from the village.
Go to a local family home and learn to make the local salad, empanadas and tortillas. You’ll get to experience a glimpse of how the local families here in El Paredon live and get to know more about the local culture here. Afterwards, enjoy the food with the local family!
Book your experience and enquire today via Instagram @lachozachula or WhatsApp +502 53872886
7. Walk the length of the beach and soak up the tranquility
Before or after the midday sun, take a stroll along the beach and soak up the tranquillity of El Paredon.
Being such a small surf town, you really do feel removed from the chaos of the city and of the world. Take the opportunity you have here to slow down, wander, breathe and admire mother nature doing her thing!
You’ll also get to admire some of the most gorgeous beachfront properties along the coastline here! Like the one below…
8. Get up for sunrise
The sunrise and sunset light here… is heaven.
Before the world wakes up and before the heat of the sun rises, take the time to wander down to the beach and enjoy a meditation, podcast, surf session, walk or run.
Start your day with some movement and connection to self before the world gets its hands you!
10. Have a beach day
But seriously. This is the place to do it. You can’t come to the beach and not have a beach day. Make friends with the local dogs, roll out a towel, cover yourself in suncream and read your book!
Top tip: The black sands get very hot during the day for obvious reasons so whilst it’s nice to be barefoot on the earth, I’d bring flip flops to save yourself the burn!
11. Book onto a kayaking tour through Sipacate-Nanranjo Nature Reserve
If I’d have had more time, I’d have loved to have joined this tour and explored the mangroves and wildlife up close and personal!
You can book onto one of their tours or opt for kayak rental and explore for yourself.
- Mangrove kayak tour – 90 minutes, 150Q
- El Naranjo wildlife tour – 2.5 hours, 250Q
- Poza del Nance turtle tour – 2 hours, 200Q
12. Head to Driftwood for sunset drinks and volleyball
Driftwood is the ‘popular’ hostel I mentioned at the beginning of this El Paredon travel guide. Its location couldn’t be any more central or conveniently located on the beachfront.
Crowds naturally gather in this location come sunset so it’s a very social place to grab a drink and join in with the beach volleyball which, during my stay, seemed to be daily occurance.
Drfitwood hosts evening events and dinners too (you know, beer pong vibes) – have a wander in and just ask one of the many staff here. There’s always something going on!
Author: Mollie (From We Are Travel Together)
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