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Puerto San Jose

Population – 19,000

Two hours from Guatemala City, Puerto San José is the closest beach to the capital and a scruffy seaside resort. This was once the great port of Guatemala but now the cargo ships visible on the horizon depart from Puerto Quetzal, a few kilometers to the east. Two bridges over the dirty canal provide access to the ocean.

The beach is black volcanic sand and lined with wall to wall seafood comedores. Apart from the restaurants there is little shade but the sea is relatively calm here so even kids can play in the water. A lifeguard is on duty during the weekends when the town is overrun by day-trippers. Dogged by violence and gang trouble, Puerto (town’s nickname) is a less-than-desirable place to wander around at night.

The bright green Papillion Hotel is amidst the action, on the main strip parallel to the beach, with adequate rooms (fan only) for $12.50. Hotel Costa Real, in a quieter setting, on 9 Calle between Avenue del Comercio and Avenue 30 de Junio, has better rooms including a/c and cable TV for $32. Each has a swimming pool.

Internet, the local markets, banks and ATM’s can be found on the streets either side of Parque Central. There are numerous places to eat scattered throughout town, the most appealing are on the beach. If walking is too much like hard work, a tri-cycle ride around town will cost $0.60. On the main road leading to the beach (Avenue del Comerico), intriguing bottles of amber liquid can be seen for sale. They look like honey but are actually aciete de tiburon (shark oil).

A pleasant spot to hang out for the day is the beachside water park Aqua Magic. Open daily (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays), Aqua Magic has multiple pools, waterslides, snack vendors and picnic areas. Entry is $8 (adults) and $5.60 (children). Alternatively, there is an ostrich farm on the outskirts of town (km 100) where visitors can pet a bird and eat a healthy, lean ostrich steak. Entry is $3 (adults) and $2.50 (children over 10 years old).

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Other places nearby Puerto San Jose: Champerico, Tilapa & Tilapita, Santa LucĂ­a Cotzumalguapa, Taxisco, Coatepeque, Escuintla, La Democracia, Las Lisas, Iztapa and El Tulate.







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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