Visiting El Paredon | Guatemala’s
laidback surf town

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Exploring El Paredon Where to Stay Where to Eat How to get around Things To Do

You can find the quiet town of El Paredon on Guatemala’s Pacific Coast.

Unlike other beach towns in Central America, such as Puerto Escondido in Mexico and San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, El Paredon hasn’t made it onto everyone’s radar, YET!

It’s mainly a holiday and weekend destination for Guatemalans, creating a more authentic and undiscovered vibe.

El Paredon is still a somewhat sleepy fishing village, attracting people in the know to enjoy it’s fun and uncrowded waves. If you love surfing, or want to give it a try, the best waves can be found in El Paredon between October and March.

Even if surfing isn’t your thing, the black sand beaches, palm trees and stunning sunsets surely will be! 

This guide has everything you need to plan the perfect trip to El Paredon, Guatemala. From where to stay and what to eat, to the top things to do in El Paredon, we’ve put together our best insider tips for you.

Top Tip: There are no ATMs in El Paredon, so make sure to bring enough cash for your stay there.

Is El Paredon worth visiting?

El Paredon is the perfect place to chill during the day and enjoy the growing nightlife that takes over the town once the sun has set. The beach parties are unforgettable (or forgettable, depending on how much you drink!)

El Paredon is different from everywhere else that you’ll visit in Guatemala. That’s why we recommend adding it to your Guatemalan itinerary.

How long should you spend in El Paredon

Most people visit El Paredon to enjoy the surf or the laidback atmosphere. Both of these take more than a couple of days to fully appreciate.

You can definitely visit El Paredon just for the weekend from Antigua, like a lot of the locals do. However, this doesn’t give you a lot of time to relax and enjoy the beach.

Some people stay for a few days, others for a week and a few never leave!

Where to stay in El Paredon

Choosing where to stay in El Paredon is as easy as it gets. The town is just over 1 km long!

Wherever your accommodation is, you’re going to be close to the beach and near the few restaurants, cafes and shops that exist here 

Since the location doesn’t really matter in El Paredon, we recommend simply choosing the accommodation that you like most.

Though, of course, being on the beachfront can be very nice!

Accommodation in El Paredon

There isn’t a huge choice of accommodation in El Paredon as the town is so small. The best spots can be fully booked months in advance, so we recommend planning ahead.

If you want to treat yourself, this is the place: there are some beautiful beach-front cabanas on offer. You won’t want to leave!

There are also a number of hostels: our favourite is Mellow Hostel, with its stunning pool and a social atmosphere.

Private rooms in El Paredon start at around $25 per night.

Where to eat in El Paredon

El Paredon is a pretty small beach town that doesn’t have the biggest range of restaurants. It’s more about relaxing on the beach in El Paredon than indulging in fine dining.

There are a few great spots, though, which will probably become part of your daily routine.

Here are our 3 favourites places to eat in El Paredon:

Cafecito del Mal — delicious smoothie bowls and coffee

If you’re looking for the perfect brunch spot in El Paredon, then Cafecito del Mar is the place. As well as making great coffee, they use local and fresh produce to prepare delicious food.

Their menu features mouthwatering dishes, such as smoothie bowls, burritos, avocado toast and much more. The tiny cafe has a calming ambience and is thoughtfully decorated too.

Yoli’s Local Cuisine — local food at local prices

Yoli’s Local Cuisine, as the name suggests, sells local food at local prices. They serve everything from filling breakfasts, to fresh lunch and dinner dishes.

The whole fish is a great choice here. You’re by the sea, after all. Try one of their smoothies too, they’re full of goodness.

Pacifico El Paredon — the best pizza in Guatemala?

The wood fired pizza is the star of the show at Pacifico El Paredon. Some people claim that it’s the best pizza in Guatemala. You decide! Just 30 metres from the beach isn’t a bad place to enjoy a pizza either.

Pizza isn’t the only thing on the menu. They make delicious salads, burgers and Guatemalan dishes. All served to you by the incredibly friendly owners.

How to get around El Paredon

El Paredon is a small fishing village, with an emphasis on small. You can walk from one side of the town to the other in just 15 minutes.

The best way to get around El Paredon is by walking.

Tuk-tuks are available if you don’t fancy walking or carrying your luggage when you first arrive.

Another nice way to get around El Paredon is to rent a bicycle. This way you can get to all your favourite spots in half the time it takes to walk.

Top things to do in El Paredon

El Paredon is a lazy and laidback town with not too much going on, but that’s the beauty of the place.

Without a long list of things to do, you have no choice but to embrace a slower pace of life, enjoy the beaches and relax.

That being said, there are a few things, depending on your interests, that can keep you occupied.

#1 Relax on the beach

El Paredon Beach
Volcanic beach in El Paredon

El Paredon is a beach town after all!

El Paredon’s volcanic beach seems to go on forever. The black volcanic sand makes this beach different from most beaches you’ll find in Central America.

And the best part? El Paredon’s beach is mainly untouched. There aren’t any beach clubs or hotels ruining the natural beauty of the place and charging you a fee to enjoy it.

It’s hard to find beaches like this nowadays!

Simply find a spot on the sand and spend the day listening to the waves or reading a book.

#2 Surf El Paredon’s waves 

Surfing in El Paredon
El Paredon is one of the best places for surfing in Guatemala

El Paredon’s waves are what attracts most people to this sleepy beach town.

But, lucky for you, the impressive surf is still mostly a secret. You won’t be fighting for waves or waiting in the lineup for ages, so you can spend more time actually catching the waves. Quite a treat!

The surf is best between October and March, with waves for all levels.

El Paredon Surf Camp is one of the most popular surf schools in town. They offer board rental for $15/day and private surf lessons for $15/hour.

#3 Watch baby turtles being released to the sea

Baby turtles going to the sea
Baby turtles racing to the sea on the beach

El Paredon is an important nesting site for leatherback, olive ridley and green sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you might see one laying its eggs on the beach between June and November.

Paredon Surf offers a free opportunity to go and watch this spectacle happen. It’s better to do it with an experienced guide to make sure you don’t disturb the turtle whilst she’s laying the eggs.

Then between September and December, the little guys begin to hatch! 

The Driftwood Conservation Project

Unfortunately, turtle egg poaching is legal in Guatemala and is still a big problem. Organisations such as The Driftwood Conservation Project have stepped in to save the turtles.

If the poachers beat them to the eggs, the organisation buys the eggs back from the poachers and releases the turtles into wild when they hatch.

During hatching season, turtles are released daily at 5:45am. It’s an early start, but definitely worth it to watch hundreds of turtles racing towards the sea.

In summary

Now that you’ve finished reading this guide, you’re almost ready for your adventure in El Paredon. The next step is to create your personalised itinerary with our top picks of things to do in El Paredon. Simply choose your favourite activities and places to visit, and you’re all set to make lasting memories in El Paredon.

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Professional Traveller

Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.

Professional Traveller & Editor

Aleksandra is a writer and editor who recently moved from Hong Kong to London. She’s worked and studied in four countries (and counting) and picked up a new hobby in each of them. She’s a big fan of long train journeys so you can count on her to take the scenic route, finding a few hidden gems along the way.