You will find the Retalhuleu department in south-western Guatemala on the Pacific Coast. It is not very well known among travelers, but it is a very important area for being very rich in agricultural activities. But there are a couple of places that you can visit if you want a fun day in the area. That’s why I have listed for you the best things to do in Retalhuleu in Guatemala and many more information to make sure you have a great visit!
Locals refer to this department by the name of “reu guatemala”, so don’t expect to hear the word Retalhuleu too often. This area is one of the most important producers of 2 of the main products for the economy of Guatemala: sugar cane and coffee. So as you drive through the department all you will see along the roadside are sugar cane plantations, huge trucks, a couple of small ranches, and tons of roadside hotels with sparkling swimming pools and pleasant outdoor restaurants.
Retalhuleu or “Reu” as you can imagine there are many things to do from visiting Mayan cities to a Dino park or if you’re an outdoor type of person you go hiking on Chicabal Volcano (one of the many volcanoes in Guatemala), mountain biking or kayaking. Reu is really versatile when it comes to activities.
What is the Weather Like in Retalhuleu?
Guatemala’s weather is usually hot or rainy, since it’s classified as a tropical monsoon climate or tropical wet climate. In Retalhuleu you can expect the wet season to be a bit oppressive and the dry season is usually muggy and clear, but it’s hot all year, which makes it perfect for outdoor activities. The temperature usually ranges from 68°F to 91°F and is rarely below 65°F or above 93°F.
So, knowing this we can safely say that the best time to visit Retalhuleu is from November to April
Top 5 Things to Do In Retalhuleu
Visit the ruins of a Mayan city called Takalik Abaj
This is one of the most underrated Mayan archaeological sites from Guatemala by foreigners. It is a shame1 It might not be as impressive as Tikal National Park or La Danta Pyramid in El Mirador, but it is extremely important.
It is a relatively small complex of ruined buildings and remains of art pieces like stelae. They are what makes this place so good. They were found in such a good condition, that archeologists were able to learn a lot about the Mayan culture. They also got to discover that this city served as a commercial hub for both the Guatemalan Mayas and the Mexican Olmecas.
Beaches like Champerico and Tulate are a much more relaxed alternative to the popular Monterrico Beach and the Merchant San Jose Port. The beaches from Retalhuleu don’t receive nearly as many visitors, making them a great choice looking for a private beach vacation.
They offer the same strong tides and large waves that the rest of the Pacific coast from the country, so you won’t miss out on anything if you are an adventurer looking to ride some waves. You will also be able to find plenty of cute home rentals where you can stay at. Good hotels aren’t as common.
IRTRA recreational complex
IRTRA Guatemala is a huge complex where you will find up to 8 hotels, Xocomil the largest amusement park in Central America, and Xetulul Guatemala the best waterpark in the region. It is also home to a new, smaller theme park called Xejuyup. The complex also has a crazy amount of restaurants, mini golf a spa, arcades, and a discotheque.
If you take your time to enjoy everything that IRTRA Pepta has to offer, you can easily spend a week in it.
Museo de Arqueología y Etnología
You will find this museum in the main Retalhuleu town, and it showcases artifacts from the ancient Maya that were discovered in the area. This will allow you to understand their culture a little better.
Through eight rooms, you will be taken back in time to discover fun facts. There are even some Olmeca and Tolteca artifacts, since this area was so close to their main cities and served as a connection point to the main Mayan cities.
This is another theme park located near the IRTRA complex where you get to have fun learning about dinosaurs and looking at tons of animatronics. If your kids are in love with dinosaurs, this place will be like heaven for them.
There are also a couple of good tour options for nature lovers in the area, some are:
- Mountain biking to Champerico along the old railroad tracks that were once used to transport bananas.
- Kayaking in Manchón Guamuchal Wetland Reserve.
- Hiking to Chicabal Volcano and Laguna Chicabal.
- Coffee tours in one of the many plantations of the area.
Reu, Guatemala is a small place that is not targeted by most of the tourists that go to Guatemala, so don’t expect to go and find some big hotels, in fact, most of the hotels or posadas are 3-star. I’m going to list some of, in my opinion, the best ones.
Hotel Posada de Don Jose
A comfy hotel-posada that offers most of the simple amenities you need to make your stay comfortable. Rooms have air conditioning, which is important due to the hot weather of the place. Besides the restaurant, the hotel has some pools and a bar where you can refresh yourself, and the indispensable Wi-Fi connection to always stay in touch. And the most important of all, great and friendly staff is waiting for you.
A clean hotel with free parking that offers breakfast and wifi connections. Rooms are small and comfy, equipped with air conditioning and some even have hot tubs. This hotel has everything you need to cover basic amenities, a huge pool with clean water and friendly staff. Something remarkable overall is the food, really good food!
Hotel La Colonia
They offer different types of rooms that will adjust for different types of needs, all equipped with air conditioning. An excellent restaurant that serves delicious food, and has a huge pool, and a parking lot. The staff is super friendly and there’s Wi-Fi in the main areas of the hotel. If you’re traveling with dogs this is the right place to go since the Hotel La Colonia is pet-friendly!
This is not one of the most popular regions of Guatemala among travelers. But as you can see it has many things to do and places to visit. So if you have the time definitely check it out!
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