With 400 kilometres of coastline, there are countless Guatemala beaches to choose from. Whether you’re wanting to relax in the sun, learn to surf, or party with the sand between your toes, there are beaches in Guatemala for everyone.
Does Guatemala have Beaches?
Guatemala is home to three different types of beaches, black sand beaches on the pacific coast, white sand beaches on the caribbean coast and lakeside beaches. While most travelers head to Guatemala to see the Mayan temples and Spanish architecture, the beaches are well worth the time spent travelling to either of the coastlines.
Visitors can experience a number of activities at the different beaches in Guatemala, such as learning how to surf, observe the wildlife by taking a diving tour or simply sit on the beach and hope to see some awe inspiring whales in search of warmer waters.
Is Guatemala by the Ocean?
Like many other countries on the Central American isthmus, Guatemala actually has two coasts – the warm waters of the Caribbean on the north coast and the world’s largest ocean on the south coast, the Pacific Ocean.
Are there beaches in Antigua Guatemala?
Since it’s up in the mountains, there are no beaches in Antigua Guatemala. However, it’s close enough to the coast that you can take a bus, shuttle, or private car and be on one of Guatemala’s beaches in just a few hours.
The closest beach to Antigua would be Monterrico on the Pacific Coast. It’s located in a small, relaxed beachtown with many hotels and resorts to enjoy beachside escape from the hustle of the city, with its black sand beaches and the power of the pacific ocean it’s certainly an unique area to walk along on the beach and soak it all in.
While Monterrico beach is made for an easy going, lazy beach experience, there is also fantastic wildlife in the area. From the sea turtles nesting to the serene Hawaii-Monterrico Biotopo mangrove for those bird watching and nature enthusiasts. This fantastic mix might explain why it’s one of Guatemala’s best beaches!
Located by the Mexican border, Playa Tilapa is one of the more remote Guatemala beaches. It’s set on a sandbar apart from the mainland, so is only accessible by boat. Fortunately getting there is simple – you’ll need to get to the fishing village of Tilapa (we’d recommend taking a private car – the busses usually require multiple transfers. But once you get to Tilapa, you get to enjoy a 10 minute boat ride through the mangroves to get to Playa Tilapa.
Known for its white sandy beaches and palm trees it offers the chance for a much deserved rest to unwind and recharge your batteries.
Playa Tilapa is certainly one of the hidden gems of Guatemala, so for a nice relaxing day or two simply book a beachside vacation home and enjoy the sunsets, catch some waves surfing or sit back and relax while the world goes by.
Iztapa is one of the best beaches in Guatemala and only a 2 hour bus ride from Guatemala City, there are few hotels in Iztapa but also look into staying at one of the vacation homes.
Being located on the Pacific ocean coast line it offers wonderful black sand beaches to have a nice relaxing stroll down, be sure to bring the surfboard as well. The biggest draws to Iztapa are the world class sail fishing, you’ll need to book a boat to take you out to seas and while any sailfish caught must be released to preserve the species, however any tuna caught can be brought back to shore and put into the frying pan!
If whale watching interests you, Iztapa beach is a great place to see these impressive animals in their natural habitat. You’ll need to hire a yacht to see these impressive animals up close and personal, but don’t worry the yacht will come with a skipper and technology to have the best chance of seeing some whales.
You’ll want to visit between December and April for the chance to see any of the humpback whales that head to the warmer waters of Guatemala.
This lakeside beach is located on the southside of Lago De Izabal (Lake Izabal), it’s about a 5 hour bus ride from Guatemala city so hiring a car and staying a few nights at any of the hotels located on the lake is recommended.
Enjoy a stroll down the shoreline and soak in the picturesque views or hire a boat and explore the surrounding area. Some of the popular activities include exploring the mangroves by boat to see the natural wildlife including manatees or explore the nearby Mayan ruins of Quirigua, you’ll need a half to a full day for either of these activities.
Located along the Pacific coast of Guatemala, this beachside town is about a 2 hour drive from Quetzaltenango. Champerico offers a laid back beachtown experience, along with its instagram worthy famous wooden pier and known for the delicious seafood restaurants located on the shoreline. Enjoying a great meal while watching the sunset will make for a relaxing experience away from the busy cities.
The black sand beaches and warm water will make for a great bare foot walk along the beach, the swell here is well known for its surf so this is a great place to test your surfing skills but do exercise care when in the water as the waves can be dangerous for those less experienced surfers and swimmers.
This beachside town is great for those adventurous travelers, located on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala it offers white sand beaches, palm trees and surrounding rain forest. There is certainly a lot of exploring in this area.
Livingston is only accessible by boat, so you will need to depart from the town of Puerto Barrios or take a river boat ride down the Rio Dulce that goes through the jungle.
From Livingston, head to Playa Blanca on a short boat ride being the most popular beach in the area it’s well worth heading to this beach for a relaxing day sitting under the palm trees with a drink or for a swim in the warm waters. On the way to Playa Blanca you can visit the Seven Altars waterfalls.
Located near the beachside town of Livingston, this beach is a must visit due to its white sand beaches and because it’s only accessible by boat it makes for a truly relaxing experience away from the cites and crowds. Sit back in the sun or under one of the many palm trees for shade and unwind while enjoying the caribbean water.
If you’re keen to enjoy a swim in the clear waters, hire a snorkel and spend your time exploring the sea and its residences. The calm, clear waters and abundance of space means it will make for a great experience.
This small beachside town, located north of Monterrico with its black sand beach is well known for its surf breaks and sunsets. If you’re an intermediate surfer this is a must visit but there are also surfing schools for those beginners looking to be challenged as the waves here can be quite strong.
There isn’t a lot to do here for other types of entertainment so it makes for a great get away from the busy cities and crowds.
Puerto San Jose
This beachside town is located on Guatemala’s Pacfic coastline and is a 2 hour drive from Guatemala City. The town is well stocked with shops, restaurants, hotels and bars making for a great place to stay.
Puerto San Jose beach with its black sand and fantastic views makes for a relaxing experience but for those looking for an adventure should look into the deep sea fishing tours or whale watching tours available.