Sitting on the picturesque western shores of Lake Izabal, El Estor is a small, amicable town. Supposedly, its name derives from the English word âstore,â since back in the day British pirates sailing up the RÃo Dulce would come across the lake and stop there to buy supplies. The small townâs economy used to center around a nickel mine that was active during the 1970s. There has recently been a push by the Guatemalan government to reopen the mine in an effort to export minerals. However, this has been some cause for controversy, since expanding the mine would result in the displacement of several Mayan village, as well as in the destruction of the areaâs natural beauty.
Despite the debate over the mine, El Estor mostly gets by on tourism today. It touts itself as being a good destination for ecotourism, serving as a jumping-off point for forays into the nearby El BoquerÃ³n canyon and the beautiful Bocas del Polichic Wildlife Refuge. Although the town is still working on developing hotels, restaurants and other tourist amenities, it is a largely tranquil place that is worth a visit.