As we were bumping down a sandy trail/road, splashing through be puddles, dodging cattle and passing No Trespassing signs we were glad to be following our friends. If someone had just given us driving directions and expected us to follow them we would have turned around long ago thinking we had made a wrong turn. But after a few miles we actually made it to El Paredon on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala, about a 2 hour drive from the city and a world away.
After the cars were unpacked and we were settled in at Pelicanos Hotel it was time to order up some cervezas and ceviche and begin the relaxing 3 day weekend at the beach. Thank you Columbus!
A tiny little town, if you can even call 2 hotels and a couple tienditas a town, El Paredon is a few miles north of Puerto San Jose. The black sand beach here sees a few nesting sea turtles, locals, surfers and a bunch of seabirds. There are 2 hotels that I know of, a backpacker style hostel called Paredon Surf House, and a nicer hotel with 6 sweet little bungalow rooms called Pelicanos Hotel. It wasn't hard to fill up Pelicanos with a big group of friends and honestly Hubby and I have agreed this is the best way to "do the beach" in Guate. There really isn't much to do here besides lay around the pool and that's all we wanted to do anyways since it is so freakin' hot and I get burned after 5 minutes (literally 5 minutes) in the sun.
Dallas is trying to guess "Who Am I" he's JK Rowling. He got close "the lady who wrote about the kid who rides on a broom!"
Food is good (lots of seafood and meat), rooms have AC and big lizards that drop poop from the rafters, outdoor-style showers with plants living in them, a really nice pool with a big shade cloth strung over it, lots of deck chairs and a nice open front so the breeze can blow through. Rooms were 100 bucks per night so Hubs and I felt like we really splurged. We might stay at the hostel next time since it's cheaper (Q250 for a palapa which is like 30 bucks). One night we ate dinner over at the hostel, they served 3 courses for Q80 (about $10) outside at a big communal table by the pool with lights strung up, it was nice! Amazing blended mojitos.
One of the highlights but also something that makes my heart hurt even thinking about it right now was doing the "baby sea turtle release". At about 5:30 just as the sun was setting, a guy from the Tortuguero in Paredon came by the hotel with a bucket of baby sea turtles. He sold them for Q25 ($3) each, the routine was to hold it for a few seconds and place it on the sand so it could crawl out into the surf. The poor little guys had hatched the day before and been struggling and paddling in the bucket for the last 24 hours or so, which may just about guarantee their demise because they won't have enough energy to make it through the surf and out into the ocean to find food before they are completely exhausted. I don't know, it's good to support ecotourism projects but not so good to force baby turtles to overstay their time on land just so tourists can set them free on Saturday night when they get to town. It pains me to see these little baby endangered turtles and wonder if they will make it or if their species will even be here in 10 years. Seriously, we really suck at taking care of this planet.
But on a happier note, we had a great weekend and we actually got in the ocean a few times since the waves north of the Port are way mellower, still a mean riptide, but totally frolicable. The best part was early morning runs on the beach, chillin' with friends in the pool, laughing and eating and drinking and playin' games with some of our favorite peeps in Guate. And the GIANT frogs/toads that came out at night to catch bugs under the lights and the crabs that fought with them.
Check it. The frogs are huge in these parts.
Here is the bungalow we stayed in, it was super nice