Escuintla is a Guatemalan Department located in the Southern Region of the country. This is where you will find attractions like Puesto San Jose and Puerto Quetzal. Mainly known because of the Pacaya Volcano.
Another four-lane highway continues south from Escuintla to Puerto San José, Puerto Quetzal (called like that after the national bird in Guatemala: El Quetzal), and Iztapa. A bypass means you don’t need to even pass through town unless it’s absolutely necessary. The town has some nice accommodations, a variety of restaurants, but it is best to skip it and pass the northbound toll booths.
Attractions of the Area:
1. Auto Safari Chapin
This is East one of the most unusual attractions in Guatemala and indeed all of Central America, the Auto Safari Chapin, where you can drive through grounds harboring a variety of animals, including zebras, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, and a lion. There are also local species such as macaws and monkeys, which you can see in a small zoo, and an aviary. There is a rest area partway through the drive where you can get up close and personal with the park’s giraffes. A swimming pool and restaurant round out the list of amenities.
2. The Beaches
They are not beautiful, but the Pacific coast of Guatemala is known for being a good place for surfers. In Escuintla you can visit Puerto San Jose, but it isn’t the best or safest unless you start at a large resort. Instead, I’d tell you to go to El Paredon. This is a surfer’s town, a lot cleaner and safer.
3. Water Parks
Along the highway that leads to the beaches, you will find a number of waterparks with decent slides and pools that you can visit for fun family time. There are a few, but at the moment, Finca El Zapote might be your best choice, they have swimming pools trails and other fun things to do.
4. Pacaya Volcano
This is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. It is always active at low levels. There are tours where you can walk up almost to the crater and walk among the lava rivers. Some tour companies even offer marshmallow roasting in the small wholes on the ground that are still extremely hot.
5. Dolphin and Whale Watching
These tours usually leave from Marina Pez Vela. They usually happen between January and mid-April in Guatemala, which are the warmer months of the year. You will be taken on board a yacht off of the Guatemalan coast to sear for these huge mammals.
6. Sipacate Naranjo National Park
This is a protected area where locals are trying to preserve mangroves. to explore them you will be able to rent kayaks Kayaking in mangroves. The place also serves as a protected and safe area for sea turtles and some kinds of iguanas to lay their eggs without the danger of poachers stealing them.
7. Waterfall Rapelling
Finca el Barretal is a relatively new attraction, a privately owned water park where some travel agencies have started to offer waterfall rappelling tours. But there is much more than just that, things like glamping and coffee tours are also available
This department, aside from Pacaya volcano, is not very popular among travelers, but Guatemalan’s visit it all the time in search of pools and warmer climates. However, surfers should definitely take some time to experience what surfing in Guatemala can be like.
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