Esquintla is a small industrial city in the southern Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. It is a little over an hour from Guatemala City and about four hours from Quetzaltenango.
The main industry in Esquintla is sugar cane production, with livestock and other agricultural pursuits second, but otherwise the city and its region are among the poorest in Guatemala. The city is the gateway to the Pacific, though, and as a result there are plenty of things to see and do nearby. Hostel accommodation in the main city of Esquintla is nonexistent, in fact there are very few hotels as well. However, there are a few surf hostels on the beaches of the province, another hour and a half down the coast. Expect hostels on the coast of Guatemala to offer surf classes in addition to accommodation. You could also look into a farm or homestay, a guesthouse, or an inexpensive hotel.
While the city of Esquintla is not anything to write home about, the surrounding area is chock full of exciting activities. The Pacaya Volcano is on the border with the Guatemala City department, about a half an hour into the hills from Esquintla. It’s unique in that you can walk to the crater rim and peer into it. Pacaya last erupted in 2014, so its a pretty active volcano. Another geological site you might want to check out, especially in the summer, is in San Pedro Martir. There, on the slope of El Penon Mountain, is a shell cave and 65 metre tall waterfall along the Michatoya river. The swimming hole is perfect for a hot Central American day!
If you feel the need for a more energetic water activity, head for the coast of Esquintla and hit the beach. The surf spots here are good, and less crowded than Costa Rica. The most accessible ones include El Paredon, Lindemar, Rama Blanca, and El Semillero, among others.
Finally, Central America is awash in prehistoric ruins - the most famous are in Mexico and Belize - and Guatemala has their fair share. Don’t miss the El Baul and Las Ilusiones near Santa Lucia Cotzumalguapa.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Escuintla hostels. Welcome.