Surfing in Guatemala
Guatemala is located in Central America and is known for its volcanic landscape, mystical Mayan culture and the colorful colonial city of Antigua. Guatemala may not be as famous as it’s neighbor countries but it’s home for some high quality river mouths waves that would blow any surfers mind. For some reason the lack of coastal roads and nonexistent point-breaks made this country unpopular among travelers who prefer to seek perfect but crowded waves somewhere else in Central America. There are 250km of coastline, mostly composed of continuous black sand beaches that offer plenty of uncrowded surf spots with mellow waves for the beginners and heavy barrels for more advanced surfers. Bathed by the Pacific Ocean is not a secret that Guatemala’s south-facing coastlines receive constant and powerful swells all year round. It’s a matter of time until this fascinating country starts to attract more and more surfers in search of uncorrupted empty surf breaks.
Climate in Guatemala
The climate in Guatemala is tropical with comfortable temperatures all year round. Although the weather patterns can be divided into two distinct seasons, most of the temperature variation occurs due to the altitude differences in the country. The dry season goes from November to April and the rainy season from May to October. Along the pacific coast the weather can be more unpredictable and rainfall can occur along the whole year. With a very exposed coastline the waves in Guatemala rarely drop below 3ft. The best time to surf is from March to June when bigger swells are more consistent and the rainy season is coming to an end. The water is warm throughout the entire year and perfect to surf just in boardshorts.
Best surf spots in Guatemala
Guatemala has good surf spots scattered all over the coastline. The best and most consistent surf spots in the country are located in the pacific side, more precisely on the south facing coast of the country. The best surf spots are Iztapa, El Paredon, Sipacate and Chaperico.
Meal price range
Simple meals start at $4 USD. Mid-range meals start at $12 USD. Dining & drinking at high-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $25-35 USD
There are a couple places where you can rent gear. Boards are $20 USD a day.
Prepaid SIM cards
Tigo is a good choice. SIM cards can be purchased from official stores, or at some of the larger convenience stores.
Prepaid packages start at $6 USD.
Virtually everyone travels by “chicken bus” in Guatemala. They are cheap, convenient, and can be quite the experience.
A pullman, usually a Greyhound-style bus, is rated as first-class and will get you around for long-distance travel.
Taxis are available in all the main towns, and their rates are fairly low at around $3 USD for a short ride.
Rental cars start at $40 USD.
$0.88 USD a liter.
Types of risks
Strong rips, beachbreaks only.
How to prepare
Citizens from 86 countries, including the EU, US, and Australia, can enter Guatemala without a visa for up to 90 days.
Although it's not mandatory, it’s recommended that you have been vaccinated for hepatitis A & B, yellow fever, typhoid, rabies, meningitis, polio, Tdap, chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella. You may be asked to show proof of your yellow fever vaccination if you come from a country with a risk of yellow fever.
Things to know
Language & Currency
Spanish is the official language. You’ll find English speakers in the touristy areas.
The currency is Quetzal (Q).
Best time to go
Guatemala has consistent waves all year round but the best time to surf is from March till June when the weather is pleasant and waves are plenty.
Checking Surf forecast
Checking the forecast about a week before your trip is always a good idea. Understanding what the waves will be like and knowing what gear to pack is essential. You can check the forecast for the waves here.
Do I need pack a pharmacy kit
You should bring a basic kit. Including ear drops, eye drops, bandaids, ear plugs, gaze, alcohol, mosquito repellent and broad spectrum antibiotic ointment.
World Nomads has great travel insurance packages that are not super expensive and they cover surfing.
Check surf pictures of Guatemala at #surfguatemala