Guatemala is probably best known of all the Latin American countries for having the best Mayan ruins and amazing volcanoes, but it is the beaches in Guatemala are lesser known attractions that deserve some attention.
There are great beaches around Guatemala, on both the Pacific and the Caribbean coasts, that boast both white and black sands. Each unique in it’s own ways, and with local options for a variety of water sports.
Below is listed just a small sample of some of the best beaches in Guatemala. Any one of them will be certain to make your holiday the best one ever. This guide is meant to tell you where to go, how to get there, who to stay with and more. Enjoy.
Be sure to check out the end of the article, to see some related tours and accommodation options!
7 of the Best Beaches in Guatemala
Monterrico is perhaps the most popular of Guatemala beaches, for both locals and tourists alike. It’s famous black sand and beautiful scenery, as well as having more amenities than most other beaches, make this the go-to place.
The difference between this beach and other well developed beaches in the world is the relaxing atmosphere and the feeling that you really are a part of the country instead of just being at another tourist trap.
The village of Monterrico is full of character, and you will probably even see pigs, chickens and other animals roaming free. The people that live here are so unpretentious and friendly, and very willing to help make your stay as fun as possible. Located along the Pacific coast, the ocean water is great for surfing, with big, crashing waves. There are some surf shops where you can rent a board and take them on.
It’s popular to do trips from Antigua to Monterrico, as it’s one of the closest beaches. CLICK HERE to search through Monterrico hotels and hostels.
Related article: The Best Beaches in Colombia
2. Champerico, or Champe
Champerico, or Champe, is thought of as the best spot in Guatemala for surfing. Locals will show you the best places to catch some of the biggest waves, and several small surf shops can rent you the equipment and even teach you the sport.
Champerico is a town and one of the largest ports in the country, so you will find all of the amenities you could need to make your stay perfect. There is plenty of coastline with plenty of beach to go around, whether you like the action of a crowd or a more isolated spot.
Related article: The Best Beaches in Chile
3. Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca is appropriately named “White Beach” as it is a magnificent stretch of the most pristine white sand you will find anywhere. With beautiful swaying palm trees lining the beach you will feel like you have found paradise!
Located in Izabel, this is one of the Guatemala beaches that is only accessible by boat, so is relatively quiet, with not that many people visiting it at any one time. This means it is the perfect place to relax and unwind while enjoying the Caribbean waters.
The water is so calm and crystal clear that you will love swimming and snorkeling here. It does not get real deep until you are over 100 meters out so there is plenty of room to play.
Scroll through tons of accommodation in Izabel HERE
4. Playa Tilapa
Playa Tilapa is the northernmost beach in Guatemala, and is only 10 miles from the Mexican border. The small fishing village of Tilapa is a quaint little town with a small hotel and one restaurant where you can get some of the best seafood dishes around.
The dark sand of this extremely quiet beach is such an inviting place to sunbathe and soak in the rural atmosphere. The warm water of the Pacific provides some great breaks for surfing, which people from around the world come to enjoy.
Watching the locals fish, or even taking part in it yourself is another favorite past-time, and you could even get something fresh to cook for dinner right on the beach. Tilapa is a popular stop for backpackers traveling from Guatemala to Mexico (or vise versa), and is worth spending a night or two.
Check out a bunch of accommodation in Tilapa HERE.
Related: The Best Beaches in Philippines
5. Puerto San Jose
Puerto San Jose is located just around the bend from Monterrico, and is another popular beach in the country. It is the second largest port in the country, and the largest fishing town along the Pacific stretch of their coastline.
Arranging for a charter to take you out to do some fishing for sailfish or to do some whale-watching is a fantastic way to spend the day. The dark sandy beach is so warm and inviting that you may decide to just sunbathe with a good book and pina colada in hand while watching the different boats coming and going.
With the volcanoes visible in the background, the area is very pretty and relaxing. There is an airport in the town so you have the option of flying in here directly. There are restaurants and beach bars close at hand so there is no need to go anywhere.
But nearby is the small village of Chulamar if you are looking for somewhere fancier to dine or stay. Check Chulamar accommodation HERE.
6. Playa Dorada or The Golden Beach
Playa Dorada or The Golden Beach as it is translated, is another wonderful beach option. It was so named because of the tiny golden pebbles that covered the area. Over time people have taken most of these gems as souvenirs, but there are still enough to give it that beautiful color, especially just off shore.
The beach is located in Izabal, and if you are staying here there are buses that will take you to and from the beach.
The beach is long enough that you have the option of having fun with many other people or finding a more secluded spot for some peace and quiet. Maybe join a rousing game of beach volleyball while listening to some great music.
Scroll through tons of accommodation in Izabel HERE
Related article: The Best Beaches in Dominican Republic
7. Sipicate Beach
Sipicate beach is a very long and luxuriously black sandy beach near the town of Sipicate. The entire shoreline is so pristine and not crowded at all. As with all of the Guatemala beaches that are along the Pacific, the water is very strong and great for surfing.
Some breakers are such that even the less experienced surfers can feel safe. There are often surfing competitions here that are great fun to either participate in or just watch these amazing athletes.
The entire beach is relatively untouched by commercialization, with the exception of one resort hotel. They help keep the beach clean and litter free, and have flags set out along the shore to mark areas that are safe for swimming.
The hotel is full of Guatemalan flair, with pools not only for people but one for turtles and one just for their special guest – Juanando the crocodile! Juanando is the star, but as the signs warn, do not feed him or throw things at him!
Where to stay:
Tours in Guatemala to try:
Visit the archeological site of Tikal and explore this important site at the heart of the Mayan world. Travel from Flores on this full-day tour. BOOK NOW!
Get buzzed and brewed on this caffeine-fueled coffee adventure! Head beyond the city to explore local coffee plantations and learn the history of the bean in Guatemala. You’ll finish it all off with a tasty stroll through a local market. BOOK NOW!