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Sipacate & La Paredón

An unremarkable little town on the bank of the Canal de Chiquimulilla, Sipacate is best known as the surf beach in Guatemala (although top surfers might prefer the break at Iztapa). Access to the beach is a $0.55 per person lancha ride across the canal. Also on the beach here is MarMaya, www.marmaya.com, a secluded resort with luxury, beachside rooms for $47 and bungalows for $100 (up to 6 people).

There are a couple of cheaper places to stay in Sipacate town but with a dearth of activities in the evenings, or even open restaurants, tourists would probably be happier elsewhere. Eating wise, the choice is not exactly extensive. Comedor Natalia and Restaurante Familiar on the main street offer standard local dishes or liquados and are open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is no ATM here. The closest are in La Democracia or Siquinalá.

Travelers on a budget should head east to La Paredón, a 15 minute tuk-tuk drive from Sipacate ($2.50 per ride) or a pretty 10 minute lancha trip ($1.20 per person). This humble village, on a narrow stretch of sand between the canal and the sea, is home to Surf Camp El Paredón, www.surf-guatemala.com. A rustic, friendly surf camp (or campemente as the locals call it), El Paredón charges $2.50 per person for tents, $5 for a dorm bed or $20 for a cabin. All set in a garden right on the beach. Large meals are cooked to order and cost from $3 to $4.50. Unsurprisingly most of the clientele are interested in surfing so there are boards to rent and lessons available.

The surf breaks further out to sea on this stretch of the coastline, making for a less noisy place to sleep at night, compared to Monterrico, and creating good conditions to learn or practice surfing. The area in front of the Surf Camp is popular with local youngsters who come to splash around in the late afternoon sun or to show off their surf skills. The best time of year for surf is between December and April.

The village itself would be beautiful, except for the massive piles of rubbish that can be found strewn about. The beach is not the cleanest either. However, the people who live here are genuinely friendly and it is hard to go a few steps without being greeted by a big smile. Inside the village are a number of small tiendas and Comedor Antojitos Mary that sells cheap meals and liquados. Another eating or sleeping option is Hotel and Restaurant Rancho Bocabarra, a ten minute walk down the beach (canal to the right). Basic cabins are $25.

The area surrounding Sipacate and La Paredón is designated a national park but appears to be so in name only. A mangrove trip can be arranged around the canal on an ad hoc basis or the Surf Camp has kayaks for rent. Most of the weekend visitors here are more interested in taking a ride on a banana boat for $1.20. Turtles do come and nest on the beaches between July and November (peak months are August to October) but the turtle nursery in town is in dire need of funds and has essentially closed.

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Other places nearby Sipacate & La Paredón: Guatemala's Pacific Coast, Monterrico, Taxisco, Escuintla, Tilapa & Tilapita, La Democracia, Iztapa, Las Lisas, El Tulate and Champerico.







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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