Puerto Barrios is a port city that serves as a landing point for nearby attractions such as LĂvingston, the Punta de Manabique Wildlife reserve, the Mayan ruins of QuĂrigua and the RĂo Dulce. Once Guatemala's main Caribbean shipping port, the town is named for President Justo Rufino Barrios, a reformist leader who initiated construction in the 1880s. A railroad linking Puerto Barrios to Guatemala City was finished in 1908, and the area become the shipping center for United Fruit Company, the former plantation-owning banana giant.
In the 1970s, United Fruit was sold to Del Monte and one of the worst earthquakes in the history of Guatemala destroyed most of the port facilities at Puerto Barrios. A twin port town was constructed across the bay to the southwest: Santo TomĂˇs de Castilla. The area is still the main Caribbean seaport in Guatemala, mostly due to the fact it remains a hub for Dole and Del Monte.