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The department of Escuintla is the gate to the Pacific Ocean, where the sun and the water mixes in magic scenery. Many people come here to relax, but the department is also known for a growing economy. Its commercial development is mainly based on sugar and livestock production, as well as coffee and cardamom. It is also important to point out that Escuintla has a large variety of informal economy, mainly sales of fruit at the edge of the different roads.

It is very difficult to get bored in Escuintla. Apart from pleasant resting you have the choice between horse back riding, sailing, fishing, bird watching, swimming, walking at the shores and climbing. “La Ciudad de las Palmeras” as Escuintla is famous for its many beaches visited by local and foreign visitors.

This department is the perfect amalgam of ecology, landscapes, and cultures in all their expressions. The nature and infrastructure offer a perfect frame to enjoy this coastal territory. Travelers can reach the cloudy forest and a black sand beach on the Pacific Coast in just a few minutes. There are also many protected areas such as mangroves woods and coastal areas. In addition, Escuintla is a famous destination among birdwatchers. The climate and the widespread green area practically guarantee a wide variety of birds of different species. Guatemala is especially exciting to birdwatchers because it is on the North-South migratory path of birds from South and North America, the two coasts of the United States, and Canada. Birds of different feathers do flock together in Guatemala, Lachua Lake, the northern transversal road in Verapaz, Yaxha, Cerro Gil, Quetzal Tiotope, Cerro Alux, Cayala Park, and of course, Monterrico.

Guatemala's Pacific coast is a paradise for fishers. If there is an entry in the record books for salt water fishing, Guatemala’s Pacific Coast has it. Anglers enjoyed a recent 240 billfish catch, and that was in a single day. Guatemala also holds the record for the most billfish caught and released in one championship day, by one boat in one day, by one person in one day and by one boat in a year. The near-inshore waters of Guatemala’s Pacific Coast teem with maritime food as several current meet just offshore. Paddling turtles, breaching humpback whales and spinning dolphins join the lunch line and are an attraction even for the non-angler. This is of course a paradise for divers too

When it comes to handicrafts this region has much to offer among them wood work, metals, baskets, leather and ceramics. Recently, some other creative expressions have gained importance like the weavers in Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa show, having established a school contributing to preserve the importance of silver and gold weaving.

Another important aspect of life in Escuintla are the local fairs of the different municipality. There’re a lot of activities carried out during those celebrations, like floral games, literary contests, social dances, and sports. However, religious celebrations constitute the main activity, which include colorful processions and indigenous dances; among them the Baile de Moros, La Conquista, Rey Azarias, Rey David, Don Fernando, and Napoleon.

The volcanoes Fuego and Pacaya are located in the northern part of the department. They reach an altitude of up 3,763 and 2,522 m.

The main city Escuintla is relatively close to Guatemala City and therefore well connected. The weather here is hot and humid. The regions most visited tourist attractions are beaches, swimming pools and thermal baths.

Places to visit in Escuintla

Pacaya Volcano

This volcano is shared with the department of Guatemala. It shows the most amazing characteristics in the towns of San Vicente Pacaya, Bejucal, El Cedro, El Patrocinio, Los Chagüites, and San Francisco de Sales. This is an ideal place to hike, learn about geology and natural history, take pictures or just to enjoy the place. You can actually walk up until the top the active volcano and take a peek into the crater. An unusual and exciting setting.

San Pedro Martir

This is a place located at the slope of El Peñon Mountain, just a few miles away from Escuintla city. The place combines a natural cave with a waterfall of almost 65 m high. The cave is of volcanic origin and it is one of the few of this type in Guatemala. It has a shell form and has many small caves.

The waterfall is formed by the Michatoya river, it has four small waterfalls which are separated by rocks cover with plants. You can jump right into the fresh water, if you feel like it.

Archaeological Sites

Learn about Prehispanic culture at the La Democracia museum and visit the stone sculptured faces from a more antique stage of the Mayan culture. Another must-see are the archaeological sites El Baul and Las Ilusiones in the municipality of Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa.


Escuintla’s oceanic littoral is very uniform and has many beaches and swimming places. The most accesible and visited ones are: El Semillero, Tecojate, San Jose, Rama Blanca, La Empalizada, Rancho Carrillo, El Paredon, Buena Vista, La Barrita, Chulamar, Likin, Lindamar, and Conacaste.

Panoramic View of the Volcán de Pacaya in Escuintla

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