El Paredon Guatemala – where the waves are good, the vibe is on point and the sunsets are like a painting. El Paredón is a picturesque village located on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, renowned for its serene beaches and laid-back atmosphere.

This “hidden” gem has become increasingly popular among travelers seeking a more off-the-beaten-path experience and of course those seeking the surf. El Paredon is known for its consistent surf breaks, making it a haven for surf enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Surrounded by mangroves,El Paredon provides a tranquil and unspoiled retreat, making it an ideal destination for those seeking to unwind and catch some waves.  After spending a week in this tropical paradise, I’m going to spill the beans on all there is to do in El Paredon.

In this article, I’ll go over what to do in El Paredon, list the best El Paredon hotels, dish on my favorite restaurants as well as list some practical information that will aid you in your trip to this dreamy coastline.

El Paredon Guatemala Travel

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Im Jess Traveling in the ocean in El Paredon
The streets in El Paredon

Things to do in El Paredon Guatemala

People come here to relax.  Our driver from Chhichicastenango told us that we won’t see any locals in El Paredon, only expats. After spending many glorious sun soaked days in this coastal haven, I do agree. These are the best things to do in El Paredon.

Learn to Surf

By far the most popular thing to do in El Pardeon is to surf or learn to surf. This sleepy, surf town has become a haven for surf enthusiasts of all levels. There are plenty of surf schools in El Paredón catering to beginners keen on catching their first waves or those looking to refine their skills.

Lessons cost about 150Q for 2 hours or 80Q to rent a board for 2 hours. Instructors will provide guidance on paddling techniques, mastering the art of standing up on the board and navigating the gentle to moderate waves.

The warm waters and consistent surf breaks make El Paredon an ideal place for novices to gain confidence in the water. The waves are fun and playful perfect for long boarding or for short boarding. If you’ve ever wanted to go surfing in Guatemala, this is the place to do it.

Mellow Hostel in El Paredon
Eating at Cocori Lodge<br>
The Pool at the Cocori Lodge in El Paredon

Spend the Day at One of the Beachfront Hostels

There are a handful of beachfront hostels that have a pool, a bar/restaurant, fun atmosphere and ocean views. If you aren’t staying at one of these hostels, you can buy a day pass to be able to hang out for the day.

We checked out several of the hostels but we ended up at Cocori Lodge every day. This hostel by far had the best vibes and nicest pool. A day pass at Cocori cost 150Q (about 20USD) per person but 100Q of that is put towards your bar tab.

Most of the hostels did this, Cocori is one of the more expensive ones but it by far had the nicest pool and fun, social vibes. The Mellow Hostel also has a great chill zone but as its name implies, it’s a bit more mellow.

Kayak the Mangroves

Another one of the best things to do in El Paredon, Guatemala is to go kayaking through the mangroves. Paddling through the intricate network of mangrove tunnels, you’ll witness the biodiversity that thrives in this unique habitat.

This El Paredon activity is best enjoyed in the morning when the wind is more calm. As you navigate through this thriving ecosystem, keep an eye out for diverse bird species, including herons and kingfishers.

If you love more of an adrenalin rush, opt for a wakeboarding tour through the mangroves. You can book both of these activities at any of the hostels or your hotel reception.

Booze Cruise

If you’re into a little party and love being on the water, you can hop on a booze cruise around sunset. Cocori was offering booze cruise tour for 200Q and it was all you could drink. We didn’t personally partake in this activity but its a nice way to socialize and watch sunset from a different angle.

El Paredon Sunset
Sunset in El Paredon

Watch an Epic Sunset

Sunsets don’t get much better than at El Paredon and that’s coming from me who lived on Maui for 12 years. As the sun gracefully descends over the Pacific Ocean, the sky transforms into a canvas of warm hues, painting the horizon with shades of orange, pink and gold.

Silhouettes of swaying palm trees and distant surfers create a poetic backdrop against the mesmerizing colors of the setting sun. The El Paredon beach is a black sand beach so sun sets just hit a little different here.

Watching the sunset in El Paredon is more than a daily occurrence, it’s a ritual, a moment of collective awe and gratitude for the simple yet profound beauty that graces this coastal haven.

Sunrise

There’s not many places where you can watch the sun rise and the sun set from the same spot. Well in El Paredon, you can do just this. If you can muster up the early wake up call, bring your coffee to the beach, there’s no better way to start the day.

El Paredon sign

Soak up the Sun and Have a Beach Day

The El Paredon beach is a volcanic black sand beach that you can see for miles in each direction. If you didn’t come here for the surf, don’t worry, you can still spend time on the beach.

You won’t have a problem finding your own spot to post up for the day. A beach day in El Paredon encapsulates the essence of coastal bliss, inviting you to unwind, explore and savor the unspoiled beauty of this not-so-hidden gem along the Guatemalan shore.

Volleyball net at Driftwood Hostel

Hang at Driftwood for Sunset Drinks on the Rooftop Terrace

The Driftwood hostel has an excellent rooftop terrace perfect for sunset. Enjoying the terrace at sunset is an awesome time to kick back and enjoy the views.

Driftwood also puts up the volleyball net around sunset when the temperatures start to cool down so if you’d prefer to do something active, there’s always a game going down.

Yoga

If yoga is your thing, have no fear.  Many of the hostels offer yoga classes which you can book through the hostel. El Paredon Beach provides a serene backdrop for a mindful practice, where the rhythmic sounds of crashing waves create a soothing soundtrack to the gentle stretch and poses.

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a beginner, El Paredón’s peaceful ambiance fosters a space for introspection, rejuvenation, and the perfect opportunity to cultivate mindfulness against the breathtaking canvas of the Guatemalan coastline.

Kids playing soccer on the back sand beach in el Paredon

Where to Stay | El Paredon Hotels & Hostels

Since El Paredon’s popularity has been growing, I’d book accommodations in advance, especially if you plan to visit during the high season. Expect to pay cash unless you don’t mind a 10% transaction fee added to the bill.

  • Wonder Boutique Hotel – Boutique Hotel with a wonderful pool area.
  • Swell – Relaxed vibe, pristine pool & outdoor shower.
  • Casa Zala – Comfortable, clean and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Cocori Lodge – Vibes, pool, bar and beachfront location.
  • Mellow Hostel – Communal area, pool table and chilled out vibes.

☕️ Read Full Post: 11 Best Hotels in El Paredon

El Paredon Travel Guide

Where to Eat in El Paredon Guatemala

There aren’t a ton of restaurants in El Paredon, the town is quite small. I think I tried about all the places to eat in town, some were better than others.  These are the few that stood out.

Chef in Flip FlopsSo, so good! Considering that we stumbled upon this place, I was pleasantly surprised. We had the Dorado – which is a Mahi Mahi fish filet and it was better than 95% of the Mahi dishes I’ve ever eaten on Maui. 

The joint is small, only open for dinner from 6-9 and is closed on Sundays and Mondays. The menu is also micro with only 5 entrees and a dessert.  The chef knows what he’s doing.  He’s been cooking for 25 years and it shows. Come early so you don’t have to wait for a seat.

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How to Get to El Paredon Guatemala

Getting to El Paredon is pretty straight forward. There are 5 different ways to get to El Paredon via arranged transportation:

  • Private Driver – Most expensive but most convenient.
  • Tourist Shuttle – Affordable and easy to arrange.
  • Uber – More expensive but convenient and comfortable.
  • Chicken Bus – Cheapest but also most challenging.
  • Guided Tour – Great if you’re short on time

El Paredon Guatemala On a Guided Tour

If you are short on time but really want to experience some surf and the magic of El Paredon, then visiting on a guided tour is a great alternative. This takes all the planning and logistics out of the question and all you have to do is show up and have a good time.

Here are a few El Paredon Tours to check out:

Where to Stay in El Paredon Guatemala

If you want to get to this beach haven independently, the most popular routes to El Paredon are from Lake Atitlan or Antigua. Tourist shuttles or collectivos run to El Paredon daily and this is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to travel to this part of Guatemala.

Lake Atitlan to El Paredon

There is one shuttle a day that leaves Panajachel (the main town on Lake Atitlan) at 1 pm. This will give you plenty of time to catch a boat ride from one of the towns that dot the lake to Panajachel if you are not staying in Panajachel.

It takes about 4 hours to travel from Lake Atitlan to El Paredon. You can book a shuttle in person once in Panajechel or online. Prices are the same if you book online or in person.

Book your Shuttle from Panajechel to El Pardeon →

Antigua to El Paredon

Shuttles leave from Antigua to El Paredon twice a day – 9am and 2pm daily. It takes about two and a half hours to reach El Paredon and the shuttle will pick you up from your accommodation in Antigua and drop you off at your hotel in El Paredon.

You can book a shuttle in person once in Antigua or online. Prices are the same if you book online or in person.

Book a Shuttle to El Paredon from Antigua →

Hanging on the El Paredon Black Sand Beach
El Paredon Travel Guide

Best Time to Visit El Paredon

The best time to visit El Paredon, largely depends on your preferences and activities you plan to engage in. However, generally speaking, the dry season, which runs from November to April, is considered the best time to visit this coastal destination.

During this period, you can expect more predictable weather with less rainfall and plenty of sunshine. I traveled here during the month of December and skies were blue and days were hot.

Like Lahaina hot, which made me feel like at home. Just think of this part of Guatemala as having 2 seasons, hot and very hot.

If you are interested in surfing, the dry season tends to bring more consistent and favorable surf conditions, making it an ideal time for surfers to visit.  If you are. interested in wildlife and birdwatching in the mangroves, the dry season can be a good time as well.

The wet season, from May to October, brings heavier rainfall, and there’s a higher chance of tropical storms. Therefore some accommodations and activities may be affected during this time.

El Paredon Travel Guide
El Paredon Black sand Beach

What to Pack

  • Sunscreen – This is my go-to sunscreen for the beach. Not only is it reef safe but you won’t need foundation.
  • Lifestraw Water Bottle – helps me save a little money on buying water and stay healthy with clean drinking water when in a pinch traveling through Central America.
  • Bathing Suit – My latest obsession. It was built for women, by women :). Not the best suit for surfing but perfect for lounging by the pool.
  • Sunglasses – These are polarized, extremely affordable and come in many colors. I’ve been rocking them for a while now and love them.
  • Flip Flops – Unless of course you prefer to go barefoot.
El Paredon Travel Tips

Tips to Visit El Paredon Guatemala

  • Don’t forget to bring your reef safe sunscreen!
  • Mosquitos are swarming, make sure to apply mosquito spray if you don’t want to get eaten alive.
  • Book your accommodations in advance if you are traveling here during high season.
  • While you can get by with English, having some basic Spanish phrases go a long way.
  • You’ll need cash at many places throughout town. Don’t worry there is an ATM in the Super 24 store.
  • Credit cards are usually accepted but expect a 10% transaction fee added to the bill.
  • Get an eSIM for your phone to stay connected with a local high-speed data network while you travel.
  • Tap water is not safe to drink in Guatemala (or most Central American countries for that matter).
  • Lifestraw Water Bottle – helps me save a little money on buying water and stay healthy with clean drinking water.
  • Travel Insurance – don’t try surfing without it.  It’s very affordable when you consider the alternative.
Birds inside the Mayan Hotel in Chichi
A man carrying a basket of chickens in the Chichi Market

Onward Travel from El Paredon Guatemala

  • Press North 2 hours to the charming colonial city of Antigua.
  • Head 3 hours to Guatemala City – from here you can catch flights to various international destinations.
  • Explore Xela (Quetzaltenango) in the Highlands – known for its indigenous markets, hot springs & the tallest peak in Central America.
  • In just 4 hours you’ll reach Lake Atitlan, surrounded by volcanoes.
  • Cross the border into Honduras and visit Copán Ruinas, a Mayan archaeological site or the Islands for diving.
  • Hop over the border to El Salvador for more surf and beaches.
  • Take the long journey to Nicaragua.

After spending almost 2 months exploring the country of Eternal Spring, I wrote many guides. Check them out below for more inspiration and aid in planning your trip to Guatemala.

Guatemala Travel Tips

📍Plan your Trip:

🗺 How long to travel Guatemala? 1-3 Week Guatemala Itinerary

🛺 How to Get Around:

  • Guatego for shuttles throughout the country
  • Uber or tuk tuks for shorter distances

🛂 Visas: Up to 90 Days on arrival for most countries.

☔️ Best Time to Visit: Dry season which typically spans from late November to early April.

💰 Average Daily Budget: Expect to pay 50-60 USD’s a day for basic accommodations, sit down meals and entrance fees.

⛺️ Guatemala Accommodation Guides:

🪂 Highlights

🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Guatemala

🎥 Watch our Guatemala Series on YouTube

📧 Get on my Email list to see what I’m up to and all the best travel content!

More Guatemala Travel Guides ↓

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El Paredon Travel Guide
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Things to do in El Paredon
El Paredon Guatemala | What to do, Where to Eat, Stay & MoreEl Paredon Guatemala | What to do, Where to Eat, Stay & MoreEl Paredon Guatemala | What to do, Where to Eat, Stay & More
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