El Paredon is a small town on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Along a black sand beach of 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) you will find hotels, restaurants, bars, surf schools and small convenience stores. Although this coastal town is tiny, you will have lots of fun. Here I detail 7 things to do in El Paredon, Guatemala.
El Paredon has become a popular destination for Surfing, Kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) due to the swell of the sea and the proximity of mangroves. It is one of my favorite destinations and I highly recommend it for its friendly atmosphere and high level of safety.
1. Surfing in El Paredon
This is the star activity in El Paredon. The waves here are perfect for learning and practicing surfing. You can take surfing lessons from beginner level in several of the hotels and surf schools in the area. If you already know how to surf and just want to practice but don’t have a board, you can rent one. Prices range from 120 GTQ (15 USD) to 200 GTQ (25 USD) per hour. Click here to read where to take surfing lessons and where to rent a surfboard.
2. Visiting the Mangroves of the Sipacate-Naranjo National Park
El Paredon is located near the Sipacate-Naranjo National Park of mangrove forests. You can visit the park by boat and by kayak. The complete tour will take approximately 2 hours if you stop several times to see the various species.
I recommend taking the organized tour in a small boat. A local guide will tell you about the animals you will see and about the history of the area. The local guides know from experience the exact spots where you can see animals like pelicans, herons, seagulls, sea turtles and iguanas.
For the boat tour, I recommend La Choza Chula. It is a non-profit organization that has several local projects in El Paredon. Their small boat can accommodate two people in addition to the guide. The two-hour tour costs 115 GTQ (a little less than 15 USD) per person. The tour is given in English. In this way you have a wonderful trip and at the same time you support the local community.
3. Releasing Baby Turtles in El Paredon
This activity is ideal for November or December. Just go to El Paredon beach early in the morning to see hundreds of baby turtles start their journey to the sea. The best time is at 5:45 AM. Of the things to do in El Paredon, this activity will fill you with life. It is amazing to see their efforts to reach the sea.
Super important tips: It is crucial for the development of their skills for life in the sea that they complete their journey by themselves. Walk with them towards the sea but don’t touch them. If they go parallel, just put small obstacles in their way to get them to change course.
The Driftwood Surfer is the place where you can book your participation. I recommend you do it with them as they maintain a turtle conservation project. They will explain what the project is about and how you can help.
4. Visiting a Salt Farm and Turtle Sanctuary
One of the best things to do in El Paredon is taking an afternoon tour to a salt farm and turtle sanctuary. The boat tour takes you through secret canals in the mangroves. After 20 minutes you will find yourself at the sea turtle sanctuary where these animals are present all year round. You will see that from time to time they poke their heads up for air. The local guide will tell you about the conservation of the sea turtles in the area.
On the way back you will visit a salt farm and learn about the extraction process. This visit gives you an insight into the development of the local economy. You can book the tour at La Choza Chula: Turtle tour. Depending on the number of people taking the tour you pay between 115 GTQ (a little less than 15 USD) and 185 GTQ (23 USD).
5. Stand Up Paddleboarding in El Paredon
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun way to explore the mangrove canals. The waters in this area are quiet and there is no strong current. SUP makes visiting the mangroves even more fun.
If you are up for the adventure, you can take the organized tour at two different times: 10:30 AM and 3:30 PM, every day. For 125 GTQ (16 USD) you have your board and paddle and you can join the group for the tour. The best place to book the tour is Cocori Lodge. This is the busiest spot because it is the largest hotel in El Paredon. Its restaurant and bar are the most popular.
6. Taking a Gastronomic Tour in El Paredon
Among the things to do in El Paredon you cannot skip eating a delicious plate of local food. Plus, you will enjoy it more if you are involved in its preparation and you know its origin.
On a 2-hour tour you will visit a local family home and with them cook the typical food of the area. The recipe combines influences from 4 Mayan ethnic groups: small tamales filled with red beans, corn tortillas, empanadas, and meat with a sauce of Guatemalan spices and herbs. La Choza Chula is the place to book this cultural experience for 90 GTQ (11 USD). You will cook and eat like a local and all your tastebuds will be satisfied.
7. Nightlife in El Paredon
El Paredon is also popular for its party atmosphere, good music, and beautiful people. If you are familiar with surfing destinations, you know what I mean. There are several places where you will find parties, especially in high season (November to April). Keep in mind that in Guatemala places close at 1:00 AM, so the party will start early.
In El Paredon it is a good idea to start the party in the early evening. One of the charms of the area is precisely its intense orange sunset. If you want to cover all the things to do in El Paredon, its nightlife should definitely be on your list.
The party is at:
Cocori Lodge is a hotel with a large and popular bar and restaurant. Starting the party here is a good option due to its location right in front of the beach. You will have the pleasant combination of good music, atmosphere, sea breeze, a cocktail, and a breathtaking sunset.
Mellow is also a hotel and its bar/restaurant has a lively atmosphere. It is located close to the main street of El Paredon at 850 m (0.5 mi) from the beach. You will always find good music and people to chat with. Every week they organize a different game, such as: beer-pong, pub quiz, cornhole, music quiz and poker night. Their cocktails are the best in El Paredon.
This is a small cozy bar located on the main street of El Paredon. On special days they organize parties with live music. They also have specific days for each musical genre: Wednesdays salsa, Fridays live dj with R&B and Hip Hop, and Sundays chill music and special cocktails. Another attractive feature is the small art gallery inside the bar.
Here you will find a swimming pool bar open until 6:00 PM and a restaurant with international cuisine. Its second-floor bar has a panoramic view of the sea. This makes it the perfect place to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset. Every night there is a buffet style dinner for 59 GTQ (7.50 USD). Just make a reservation and you will have a variety of dishes to enjoy. Book via WhatsApp or at the reception during the morning.
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