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Escuintla

Population – 120,000

The largest city in the Pacific Coast and a major crossroads, excellent transport links running from 6am to 6pm in all directions (some have longer hours) mean there is no excuse to get stuck here unless arriving late in the day. Escuintla has no tourist attractions and a simple pass through should be more than enough to satisfy any curiosity.

Most travelers' first taste of this hot, bustling city will be the bus triangle, a handy place to make onward connections. On the corner of 1 Avenue and 9 Calle, all buses pass through here and it is the main Escuintla drop off and pick-up point outside of the bus station. The bus station is seven blocks south of the central fort-like police station. If arriving here, take a taxi to 4 Calle for $1. Once there, everywhere is within a five minutes walk.

If disembarking at the bus triangle and not carrying onwards, head up the hill to 4 Calle and turn right (opposite McDonalds). Down this street is Internet Cyberhouse, an air-conditioned Internet café (open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and Casa del Abuelo, a courtyard restaurant good for a Guatemalan-style breakfast or lunch for about $4 (open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Next to the small park on 3 Avenue and 4 Calle is the motel-style Hotel and Restaurant La Villa complete with pool and off-street parking. A reasonable deal for couples at $13 p.p., singles might find $19 a little steep (Visa credit cards accepted at no extra charge). The restaurant is open from 6.30 a.m. till 10 p.m., serves alcohol and has an extensive menu. Snacks cost $2 to $3 and meals from $4 to $7.50.

Around the corner on 3A Avenue, between 5 and 6 Calle, Hospedaje Idris has possibly the cheapest deal in town - clean, basic rooms with fan, TV and shared bathroom for $6.25 per room. However they also rent rooms by the hour and the room is only available from 5 p.m. till 9 a.m. The manager is happy to look after bags in the meantime. Hostal Real Antigua is at 3 – 22 on 6 Calle, the street opposite Hospedaje Idris, is a good in-between choice with spacious rooms including private bathroom, TV and fan for $9.50 p.p.

The hub of Escuintla is on 4 Avenue, a stones throw from all the hotels. Numerous banks and ATMs can be found between 3 and 6 Calle. The main market and police station in a fake-looking fort (worth a look) are on this avenue while the central park and dilapidated church are just off it at 8 Calle. There is a taxi rank at the base of the park. Another internet café, Compunet, is at 4 - 55 on 4 Avenue (open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sat), $0.60 per hour.

On and around 4 Avenue there are plenty of comedores, pizza places and street stalls. Café Jardin, at the corner of 3 Avenue and 5 Calle, is a likable restaurant with attentive, friendly service that actually stays open late enough for dinner but only until 8 p.m. (opens at 11 a.m.). On Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. is the witching hour and it turns into a disco. The menu is small but well-prepared; sandwiches or burgers with beans, guacamole and fries for $4 or a big plate of meat for $10. This is a good place to escape the traffic that clogs this city.

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Other places nearby Escuintla: Santa LucĂ­a Cotzumalguapa, Iztapa, Chiquimulilla, Champerico, Guatemala's Pacific Coast, Retalhuleu, Monterrico, Las Lisas, Cuilapa and Sipacate & La ParedĂłn.







By Kathryn
Independent and optimistic, I believe in following your dreams and have been doing just that, traveling the world for the last 9 years. British by...
05 Feb 2010

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