El Paredon Guatemala – 13+ Cool Things To Do, Where To Stay & Eat
Have you heard about El Paredon Guatemala?
Empty lineups and deep burrels is what El Paredon is known for! This super small surf town is a new Guatemala beach destination. At the moment, El Paredon is still new and exciting, but hurry up because the world is just about to find out about it!
Here you can take a surf class or just lay in a hammock with a cold Gallo in your hand and reflect on your awesome life! Yes, life in this surf town is VERY relaxed.
This post is the ultimate guide to El Paredon, where you can find out everything you need to know before your trip!
El Paredon Guatemala At A Glance
El Paredon is a tinny town where you can literally walk its length in about 10 minutes! Everyone knows everyone, and the town is generally very safe.
Here, you’ll find an expansive surfing beach that stretches along the town and for miles beyond it. The sand is black and gets really hot, so make sure you wear your flip-flops.
Despite still being an off-beaten track Guatemala destination, you can get here easily from all other major tourist hot spots in the country. More about it later on in this article.
El Paredon is situated 106 km from Antigua ( 2 hours) | 128 km from Guatemala City (2.5 hours | and 174 km from San Pedro in Lake Atitlan (4 hours).
Where To Stay In El Paredon?
Boasting minimalist, rustic rooms, each equipped with air conditioning and private bathrooms, Ka’ana Surf also features a pool and a restaurant and is the perfect luxury stay in El Paredon.
Book this luxury hotel at the best rate here.
Zoah is where we stayed, and we loved its location (right by the beach) and the friendly manager – Sarah! There is a shared pool and a cafe where you can have brunch and two kittens to play with!
Book the exact same hotel we stayed in!
Things To Do In El Paredon Guatemala
#1 Take A Surf Class
WHERE | Zoah or Cocori
COST | 200 GTQ ($25) per 1 hour (includes board & rashguard)
Board rental costs 150 GTQ ($19) per day or 80 GTQ ($10) for half a day.
Surfing is definitely the town’s main drawcard and a must-do during your stay! El Paredon surf spots are plenty, you can literally come to the beach and surf anywhere you like because the town has a beach break surf.
If you’re a beginner, book a class with an experienced instructor that will take you out and make sure you’re enjoying yourself safely.
Low tide and small swell is the best combination to go out surfing in El Paredon for beginners, and you can check the surf forecast through a Magic Seaweed App. As a beginner, you will be surfing on a whitewash – which is a term for a broken wave.
If you’re an intermediate surfer and you have experience surfing on green waves, the best time for surfing El Paredon Guatemala is during the high tide and small swell.
Be aware of strong rip currents on El Paredon Beach. They occur in different places, and there are multiple warnings and information boards along the beach.
I recommend booking an El Paredon hotel that offers board rental to their guests, such as Zoah Surf.
#2 Watch The Sunset At El Paredon Guatemala Beach
One of the best things to do in El Paredon is coming to the beach for sunset. The sunsets never really disappoint here, no matter what time of the year you visit.
If you enjoy photography, the golden hour, which starts around 90 minutes before sunset, is the best time to take some magical shots! Shoot portraits with the sun behind your camera to get a beautiful golden light on the face of the person you’re shooting!
The busiest, most vibey part of the beach is between Cocori and Driftwood Surfers hostels. You can buy some drinks in Cocori and take them out on the beach or purchase them in the shop, whatever you prefer.
🦟TIP | Bring insect repellent!
El Paredon beach is actually pretty special because here you can watch not only the sunset but also the sunrise! If you’re able to wake up that early, bring a cup of coffee and a journal and have some you time.
#3 Explore The Mangrove On A SUP
WHERE | Google location
COST | 250 GTQ ($32) for two persons, and the price goes down if the group is bigger.
Another excellent activity is to go on a morning standup paddleboard tour in the nearby mangrove. We went with @ paredon_S.U.P._tours, and we loved it.
Sean – the tour guide, and his super cute dog Ziggy came to pick us up from our hotel at 8 am, and we walked together to where the tour started. It was a private tour with only us 4, and our experience was really good.
The river was calm, and it was easy to paddle, even against the current. We went along a smaller channel and spotted a lot of birds and tons of fish! We also had an interesting chat with Sean about the expat live in El Paredon.
The tour lasted about 2 hours, and at the end, we stopped at a small beach for a quick dip.
#4 Spend A Day At Playa Catorce
WHERE | Google Location
OPENING TIMES | Wednesday to Sunday, check their Instagram for details (@ playacatorce ).
COST | 125 GTQ ($16) per person + tuk-tuk ride 15 GTQ ($2) per person, each way.
Cerveceria 14 El Paredon is an excellent place to come for sunset or spend the whole day! It is located a few kilometres away from town, so you will need to grab a tuk-tuk to get there.
For the best lively vibe, visit on the weekend – Friday or Saturday. They have a really cool infinity pool overlooking the ocean and sun loungers, huts around the pool and some more deck chairs on the beach.
Cerveceria 14 is a brewery from Antigua that makes artisanal beer. I’m not the biggest fan of beer, but their Pale Ale is super tasty, and so is the food!
TIP | Arrive early to get a good spot with nice sun loungers. We came in the afternoon, and the place was already full, we however managed to find a couple of deck chairs on the beach by the pool.
#5 Take A Tour To See Turtles & Salt Mines
WHERE | La Choza Chula Shop
COST | 185 GTQ per person ($24)
If you want to explore a different side of El Paredon, take a boat tour with the local charity – La Choza Chula. The proceeds from the tour go towards their community projects, such as activities for the local kids and building a library, so it’s money well spent.
The tour takes around 2 hours, and the times are flexible as long as it’s during low tide. I recommend going two hours before sunset if possible.
During the tour, you will see a lot of birds that migrate from the US to South America and stop here to take a break. Apparently, some never leave this place because here, they can find everything they need to thrive. For that reason, the river and the mangroves are protected.
The next stop will be at turtle point. A large colony of turtles live in El Paredon’s mangrove because here, they are safe from their usual predators – the fishers and sharks. They only come back to the beach, where they were born, to lay eggs.
The last stop of the tour is at Las Salinas, where the local people extract and produce sea salt.
#6 Make Empanadas With The Local Family
WHERE | La Choza Chula Shop
COST | 90 GTQ ($11) per person.
This is another activity you can book through the Chula charity and another great opportunity to get involved and help the local community.
On this tour, you will go to a local house and make empanadas and tortillas from scratch while having a friendly chat with the family.
The time of this activity is up to you, but I recommend doing it at around lunchtime.
This is also an excellent time to practise your Spanish. But if you don’t know any Spanish, don’t worry. One of the girls working at the charity will be there with you to translate and ensure you’re enjoying yourself.
After the food is ready, you will all sit together to share it.
#7 Have A Gourmet Dinner At Chef In Flip Flops
WHERE | Location on Google
COST | from 70 GTQ ($9)
When staying in El Paredon, you must dine at Chef in Flip Flops at least once! Chef In Flip Flops is a small restaurant owned by a couple of expats. The menu changes weekly, and the food is cooked by a real-deal chef!
They always have three different dishes to choose from – a meat, a fish and a vegan option. They open at 6 pm and always have a limited availability, so if you set your heart on trying them out, arrive just early.
During our stay, we ate there twice, and both times had a fantastic experience. We loved the humous platter, pokeh bowl with tuna and vegan sandwich with grilled aubergine. The restaurant also serves tasty, homemade drinks and cocktails.
TIP| Bring mosquito repellent and thank me for this tip later. 😉
#8 Shop For Local Crafts At Chula
WHERE | La Choza Chula Shop
This is the last time I’ll mention Chula in this post, I promise! El Paredon Guatemala doesn’t really have many shops, so if you want to get some handmade souvenirs, check out La Choza Chula shop.
The shop is really tinny, and the girls that run it work for the charity and are super friendly and always willing to chat.
Here, you will find bracelets, t-shirts with hand-made embroidery and bags – all made with love with the women from the town. They also sell a small selection of natural cosmetics such as soap bars and mosquito repellent.
All proceeds go towards community projects. And, if you want to find out more details or volunteer with them, just ask!
#9 Start Your Day With A Delicious Smoothie Bowl
WHERE | Location on Google
COST | 60 GTQ ($8)
If you love smoothie bowls, this is the best thing you can do in El Paredon! During our two weeks in town, we had the fantastic smoothie bowl from Cafecito Del Mar almost every day!
This small cafe only opens five times a week – from Thursday to Monday and makes the best smoothie bowls in town!
Most days, we had to wait to get them a long time, which is not unusual in El Paredon, but each time the wait was worth it.
They serve only one type of smoothie bowl – which is mixed fruit with peanut butter, homemade muesli, frozen berries and dry nuts toppings.
The smoothie is served in a coconut shell and is the perfect size for a refreshing brunch!
#10 Party At Cocori
WHERE | Location on Google
El Paredon is famous for its party vibe, and attending one of them is definitely something you should consider! 😁 For the best party, head to Cocori, located right on the beach. They normally have posters about upcoming events, so get there beforehand and just check out what’s on in the next few days.
We went to Cocori for the New Year’s Eve party, there was a great vibe, a cool DJ, and it was really well-organised, not to mention the epic fireworks display at midnight!
Another place to go out is Driftwood Surf Hostel. The vibe there is a little ‘specific’, and it may not suit everyone, but don’t believe me and just check it out yourself.
TIP| If you’re a light sleeper (like me), choose a hotel far away from the Cocori area, which can get very loud in the evenings.
#11 Play Beach Volleyball
WHERE | Location on Google
TIME | 4 pm
Another exciting activity to get involved in El Paredon is beach volleyball tournaments at Driftwood Surf Hostel! You don’t have to be their guest to play volleyball! Just show up at 4 pm and join the team!
Another thing that was great about Driftwood was their buffet evenings. Each night they have a themed buffet dinner. You will need to come before 5 pm, I believe, to reserve your spot. We went there for an Italian night, and the food was not only affordable but very nice too!
Again, you don’t have to stay there to come for the buffet dinner.
#12 Watch Turtles Being Released To The Sea
WHERE | Location on Google
TIME | just before sunrise
If you love nature encounters, come at sunrise to the beach to watch little turtles being released into the sea!
The conservation project was started by the Driftwood hostel and has been continued since. There is a person in charge of collecting turtle eggs from the beach and taking them to a hatchery, where they are kept safe from predators – dogs and humans mostly.
Immediately after a turtle is hatched, the turtle guardian releases it into the sea. Normally, the turtle hatching season is between September and December, but in fact, it really depends on the turtle eggs collected at the beach.
Every day at sunrise, it is possible to watch them being released. You will, however, not get to hold a turtle, but you will get an opportunity to see them going to the ocean.
Please, make sure you don’t disturb these tinny guys in reaching the sea. And absolutely, do not touch them! They only have about a 3% chance of survival, and human influence can really wipe this out completely!
I marked the rough location above, but once you walk towards that way, you will see people gathering at sunrise, and you’ll know you’re at the right spot.
If you need more information about the turtle release event, you can ask at Chula or Driftwood.
#13 Chill On The Beach
When in El Paredon, enjoy the beach to the fullest! Swimming may not be the easiest here, but the beach is still a gorgeous place to relax.
My favourite time to come to the beach is in the early morning when the sun is not yet too strong. You can even bring with you a cup of coffee and just watch the waves and hopefully some good surf by the locals.
El Paredon beach is also fantastic for long walks. For the best experience, go for a walk at low tide, when it’s much easier to walk by the shore. The beach continues East for miles, so you can walk as much or as little as you want. Another great time to walk is in the late afternoon.
What I love the most is that you can watch not only the sunset at this beach but also the sunrise!
#14 Buy El Paredon T-shirt
WHERE | Location on Google
Last but not least, on this list of epic things to do in El Paredon Guatemala, is getting a t-shirt! We saw some really good ones in the shop next to the La Choza Chula shop, and my partner got one!
Best Restaurtants In El Paredon Guatemala
Despite being a tiny town, Paredon has a good selection of restaurants to choose from, with new once constantly popping up!
Most of them accept only cash payments. And, as for the service, expect it slow! 😅 We waited, on average, 40 minutes for lunch or dinner, but the food was mostly really good.
- Soulful Kitchen – best Thai, Indian and Malaysian curries and noodles. You can either have tofu, shrimp or chicken. Prices start at 70 GTQ.
- Chef in Flip Flops – always has veggie, meat and fish options. Menu changes weekly come early, 6-9 pm.
- Cafecito Del Mar – best breakfast and lunch spot in town, epic smoothie bowls, nice avo on toast, breakfast burrito, green juice!
- El Tiburon Pacifico – is always open, which is a plus, pizza is bad, but the banana waffles were epic.
- Cocori – superb burgers (shrimp or chicken) & tacos overlooking the beach.
- Cafe Zoah – good for smoothie bowls, typical Guatemalan breakfast, and chocolate brownies, coffee and water are free.
- Yoli’s Local Cuisine – local vibe & good veggie options.
- Olivia – good for artisan pizza.
- Dosha – all-veggie restaurant
- Bella Luna – local, fresh BBQ every night.
How To Get To El Paredon Guatemala?
Antigua To El Paredon
El Paredon is still a pretty up-and-coming destination, so no big companies offer transportation that you could pre-book online.
The trip to El Paredon from Antigua takes two hours, and it’s a pretty straightforward route. Various tour offices and hostels in Antigua offer shuttle bus services, which you can book 1 or 2 days ahead of time.
The service is normally door-to-door, which means you get picked up at your hotel in Antigua and dropped off at your hotel in El Paredon.
I can recommend Tropicana Hostel, which I used for the Antigua El Paredon trip. We travelled in a specious minivan that only had four seats, and the trip was super comfortable. Prices will depend on season and demand, but to give you an idea, we paid 110 GTQ ($14) per person.
Lake Atitlan To El Paredon
If you’re travelling from Lake Atitlan, you can take a shuttle bus either from San Pedro or Panajachel. Various tour offices sell shuttle tickets, and they can also provide you with the most up-to-date time schedule.
You will get picked up at your Lake Atitlan accommodation and dropped off at the desired location.
The trip time takes 4 hours, and part of the route is along an unpaved road. Around Lake Atitlan, there are also lots of speed bumps, so expect a pretty bumpy ride. If you suffer from travel sickness, like me, take some anti-nausea pills!
Again, as shuttle bus services are owned by private companies, there are slight differences in prices, but to give you an idea, we paid 180 GTQ ($23) for El Paredon to Lake Atitlan San Pedro connection and El Paredon to Panajachel was 225 GTQ.
Guatemala City To El Paredon
You can also take a shuttle from Guatemala City to El Paredon or Guatemala Aiport to El Paredon. Here is the WhatsApp number of the company we’ve used: +502 53177862
The journey takes between 2.5 and 3.5 hours, depending on traffic, which can be really bad in Guatemala City, especially around the airport.
El Paredon Guatemala FAQ
Is El Paredon Guatemala Worth Visiting?
El Paredon is totally worth a visit if you’re interested in surfing. The town has a beach break, which means there are many spots along the beach where it is possible to surf. Empty lineups is a dream come true for surfers (including myself!)Most hotels also offer affordable surf classes and board rentals.
Apart from the surf, El Paredon is also a fantastic off-beaten track destination where you can simply take a break.. or not. The town is also famous for its party vibe.
Is El Paredon Guatemala Safe?
The short answer is yes. El Paredon is a super small town where you can walk from one end to the other in 10 minutes and where everyone knows everyone, so the crime rate is very low.
The local people are super friendly, and there is also a small community of expats that live here and are also friendly and willing to chat with you about their experience of living here.
I spent in this town a fair amount of time and felt safe, even walking at night. I do, however, recommend being cautious and exercising common sense.
El Paredon Guatemala Safety Tips
The beach in El Paredon has some really strong rip currents, which can be dangerous for people that don’t know anything about them. A rip current is like a channel with a powerful force out and to the sides, and it is normally a space between breaking waves.
If you find yourself in a rip current, the most important is to stay calm and let the sea take you out, from where you swim to the side of it and back to the beach.
So, Can You Swim In El Paredon?
Being a surfing beach, El Paredon is not the friendliest place for swimmers. Apart from rip currents, the beach gets massive waves crashing against its shore most of the time.
So, it is only possible to get inside the water for a little splash at maximum waste high, not really for a proper swim.
If you’re a beginner surfer, take a surfing class instead of going on your own. If you’re an intermediate surfer, also go with an instructor at least once to learn where you can safely enter the water and paddle to the lineup and what’s the best time to go surfing for your level.
The waves in El Paredon can get really crazy, and they carry a lot of power. During our stay, we saw a few boards being smashed into two pieces and heard from experienced surfers how scary it can get when you’re at the wrong place.
MOSQUITOS & SAND BUGS
Bring with you a good insect repellent, as the mosquitos in El Paredon are vicious! There also seemed to be some sort of sand bugs that attack your feet during the evening and seemed to favour my feet over my partner’s feet!
It is also a good idea to buy some sort of anti-bite relief cream, as the pharmacies in Paredon have a really limited supply. The bites on my feet were so itchy that they kept me up at night, no kidding!
It may sound obvious, but use suncream and protect your face with good-quality zinc when surfing and your upper body with a rash vest.
We got burned even with a thick layer of zinc (obviously not a good one), so you can imagine what can happen to your face after two hours of surfing in the sun with only sun cream on it. If it’s possible, try booking a surf class early in the morning or before sunset.
How Long To Spend In El Paredon?
If you decide to include El Paredon in your Guatemala itinerary, spend here at least three nights. Three nights will give you two full days for chilling on the beach, taking a surf class and fitting in a few more activities, such as a kayak or SUP tour, a visit to Carveceria 14 or even a night out!
El Paredon Weather & Best Time To Visit
Guatemala rainy season generally lasts from May to October, and it’s when the country receives the biggest amount of rainfall. November to April are the dry months with minimal rain.
El Paredon Guatemala weather always feels hot no matter what time of the year it is. The same applies to sea temperature, which stays stable throughout the year at 29 degrees Celcius (84 F), which means you will never need a wetsuit!
Even in the rainy season, El Paredon is not too bad, with rainfall mostly occurring in the evening or during the night.
But, if you’re an intermediate or advanced surfer, visit El Paredon during its dry season for the best surf weather. During the rainy season, the waves are huge and mostly un-surfable.
More Travel Tips
At the time of writing this post, there was only one ATM in town located inside Super 24. During our two-week stay, it didn’t work only once, but if you’re only staying a few days here, it’s a good idea to bring cash with you.
There are only a few shops in town, so if you need anything special, I recommend getting your supplies before you get to El Paredon, Guatemala.
Super 24 – good for buying snacks and drinks and paying by card.
Tienda – located a few minutes walk from Choza Chula, on the same side, which has a larger variety of foods, and you can also top up your mobile phone data here.
Most restaurants in El Paredon are closed on Tuesdays, so finding a place to eat may be a little tricky but not impossible. Also, if you’re visiting during a busy period like Christmas or New Year’s Eve, you may find that some hotel restaurants will only serve their own guests. This is because they cannot cope with the demand.
Wifi in El Paredon can be very intermittent and generally weak, and I also heard that many budget places don’t have it at all.
If you are a remote worker, ask the host for a screenshot of the wifi test before you commit to an accommodation. Alternatively, you can also top up your phone with more data and a hotspot to your phone (this is how I worked).
If you don’t have to work, not having good wifi is a great opportunity to go on a digital detox! 😉
There are a few places that offer laundry services. We used a small shop on the crossroad that also sells fresh coconuts and were very happy with the service.
If you don’t want them to use a tumble drier, which shrinks clothes, ask for drying in the air.
“Se puede sacar al aire, por favor?”
In case you need medical assistance during your stay in El Paredon, the closest cliniques are located in Port of San Jose, a 45-minute ride on a tuk-tuk. Ask your accommodation host to order you one. The driver will come with you and will wait to take you back to your hotel for around 150 GTQ ($19).
Surf Board Rentals
Surprisingly, surfboard rental can be a real struggle in El Paredon. While there are plenty of boards for beginners and short boards for advanced surfers, the town really lacks options for intermediate surfers (like myself).
Hotels only rent boards to their guests and have a limited choice of board sizes. I’d say, if you’re really enthusiastic about surfing in El Paredon, choose a place to stay where they rent boards.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced surfer, stay at Paredon Surf House, which had the best range of rental surfboards available only to their guests.
I hope this ultimate guide to El Paredon, Guatemala helped you plan your stay in this super cool, up-and-coming surf town! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.