Being an expat living in Guatemala for the past years, I have gotten to know and visit most of the beaches and surf spots in the country. Guatemala has 150 miles of uncrowded, pristine, volcanic black sanded, and year-round surfable coastline and has become known as Latin America’s last surfing frontier. With over 22 amazing breaks, you can take surf lessons from El Paredón or Maya Extreme surf camps and become a pro with little intrusion from other surfers. This is one of those activities in Guatemala that you can’t miss. That’s why I decided to write a post about the best surf spots in Guatemala.
There is also the option of getting private tutelage on three to twelve-footer waves, depending on the swells. So make sure to check out at least one of the beaches of Guatemala.
Surfing in Guatemala
Guatemala has an amazing 300 kilometers of black sand and white sand beaches. Both coasts offer a different experience, with the Pacific Coast boasting volcanic, black sands and the Caribbean Coast offering stunning white sands followed by clear blue water.
You can find the best waves on the Pacific side, they are found near river mouths, piers, and jetties, although there is a lot of potential for beach breaks almost everywhere.
There aren’t many people on the coast, so it’s perfect for those who prefer quieter beaches. But a lack of infrastructure and coastal roads makes it sometimes hard to move from one part to another.
Best Guatemala Surf Spots
Guatemala is recognized as the location of the best coffee in the world more than a surf spot. But the country has hidden gems you can visit for a unique, uncrowded surfing experience. The beaches are best for beginners, though there are also challenging breaks for the experts to tackle. Here are some of the best surfing spots in the country:
Located just a few hours from Antigua, this place is known as one of the first true surf towns in Guatemala and usually gets flooded with surfers of all levels who want to experience the strong tides of the area. Plus, there are many hotels where you can stay. Famous for its friendly atmosphere, you will find waves for all levels, making it a great place to learn surfing.
Many surfers are attracted to El Paredon because of its consistent waves and laid-back atmosphere. These create a suitable combo for beginners.
But there are also bigger waves for more experienced surfers, especially during the rainy seasons of May to October.
But if you’re uncomfortable with those, you can also enjoy wakesurfing instead. It involves riding a board behind a boat, using its wake to create a wave to surf on. Many companies in El Paredon offer wakesurfing lessons if you want to learn.
Surfing is almost the same here as it is in El Paredon, in fact, it’s located just west of the surf town, but the town is a little larger and offers many accommodation options. There is also a nearby lagoon where you can enjoy activities other than just surfing. Also, waves are suitable for all levels too.
During the rainy season, the waves can be powerful. So, if you’re looking for challenging surf, visit this small town, an hour’s drive from Guatemala City, to satisfy your desire for complex waves.
Champerrico can be more difficult to reach than the other surfing spots in Guatemala since it’s located way farther up the coast to the northwest of the country. This is by far one of the most popular surf destinations in Guatemala. It has even hosted a few national tournaments. This is where you want to go if you are a beginner looking for equipment rental and surf classes. Champerrico has some of the best waves of the country, suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers.
Another attraction of Champerico, aside from surfing, is its fishing charters. Many novice and experienced anglers can learn new fishing techniques with the locals here. They even get opportunities to take home or eat what they have caught, which is a part of the overall experience.
This is the place to check out for those looking for a more luxurious surfing experience. The place is a private residential community with some homes offered as home rentals. The waves here are great for those intermediate and advanced surfers looking for a fun challenge.
Iztapa is a small surf town located east of Sipacate and El Paredon, which are larger surf towns. Most tourists come here for the beach and to relax rather than for surfing, so you’ll have plenty of waves to yourself.
To reach the best waves, you will need to first cross the Rio Maria Linda. Luckily, many local boats are willing to take you on this journey. These waves are best left for skilled surfers as they can be strong and huge.
When to go
The best time to go surfing in Guatemala is between March and June, but if you are a seasoned surfer, the rainy season offers larger waves and stronger tides. This happens between August and February.
October to mid-May is the dry season in Guatemala, and it offers a more favorable environment for surfers as the waves are calmer and can be more suitable for beginners and mid-surfers. The average wave height is about waist-high, but from June through to early October waves become bigger.
You can fly into Guatemala’s main airport in Guatemala City or opt for a less strenuous option and fly into one of the other airports in the country. If you decide to fly to Guatemala City you can easily do it from North America.
Also, Bus routes exist from Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and El Salvador to all regions of Guatemala, meaning you can easily get there by road. Furthermore, you can find ferries from Belize and cross to Guatemala’s Caribbean coast, which is also a great option.
Other Good But Less Popular Surf Breaks of Guatemala:
* Garita Chapina
* Barra de la Gabina
* Las Lisas
* Puerto de San José
* Marina del Sur
* La empalizada
* El Mango
NOTE: If you are interested in experiencing what Guatemala’s surf breaks have to offer, the best time to do it, due to weather, is between the months of September and November.
Surfing in Guatemala can be a great option for adventurers. Plus, many of these beaches are not that far away from destinations like Antigua. So give it a try!
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