Central America
LAST UPDATED 12/09/2008
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Level of surfing


Quality of surf

Very Good

Call code


Net code





400 km


Tropical; hot, humid in lowlands; cooler in highlands


Extreme Heat, Severe Storms, Coup / Civil Unrest

Best Months

October - December




quetzal (GtQ) quetzales per US dollar - 7.6026 (2006)

Time Zone


Special Requirements

Non tourist Friendly


Calliopejen: Guatemala Coastal Market Scene; 2008

A pitching deck, the creak of well worn timbers, the cracking of sail and canvas...tied to the mast.  Things have changed a little I guess from when Jack London and  Josef Conrad wrote their haunting Pacific infused epics but it hasnt changed everythwhere. There are corners of this earth where that mythos still holds true, and most of those  corners are here in the South Pacific.

The main source of swell here is from the intense lows that circle the earth south of Australia, these lows spin off northwards with blessed regularity, peppering the entire region with generous SE to SW groundswell from March to September. Australia and New Zealand see the bulk of these swells. These countries cast a very tall shadow across the rest of the Pacific and hence many other islands in their wake can suffer from swell difusion. December to February is cyclone season. Unpredictable cells can deliver swell in a 360 radius, lighting up rarely breaking reefs and points facing every conceivable direction. 

The South Pacific trade winds are some of the most consistent in the world, generally from the East with slight seasonal variation. This is the largest Ocean on the planet and these winds easily generate regular rideable swell. Onshore conditions can be a problem on east facing coastlines but peeling yourself out for an early surf will usually bring some relief.

In the North Pacific it is the intense lows descending from the Aleutians that deliver NE to NW swells from October to March. Hawaii is ideally placed to make best use of this energy but other coastlines in the region have their own less publicised and far less crowded gems.

Jun to October also sees rarer hurricane swell radiate out from southern Mexico. This energy is often felt right throughout Polynesia. With so many energy vectors at work it is very hard not to find a wave in Guatemala. It's just a matter of finding the right one. Try to find one away from any military installations while your at it.


The Caribbean, she is a harsh mistress. All of the islands in the Greater and Lesser Antilles share at least some aspect towards the North Atlantic and therefore are exposed to any passing fronts that generate of the East American Coast and transit the North Atlantic. These fronts often pass a good way to the north and swell decay can be a problem.

Regular windswell is a constant on the east coast of all of the island groups and hence there is almost always something to keep you occupied and off the rum for a few hours. too much wind can be a bad thing though and onshore days are very common, no matter how early in the morning you manage to peel yourself out of your cot and stumble down to the beach.

The third source of swell in the region are from passing hurricanes. Some of the strongest storm ever recorded on the planet file through here regularly. Technically the season spans June to November with early September being the peak. The ideal scenario is for the hurricane mass to pass clear of any inhabited areas and sit well offshore in the deep Carribean for a few days prior to disipating. The result is typically 3-5 days of western swell that lights up the hidden western points and reefs of the Caribbean. The persistant NE/E trade winds will gently fan these breaks all day long. It is then that some of the rarer points and breaks of Guatemala come to life. Surf exploration doesent get any better than this.

what to pack

Fg2: Collapsed umbrellas; 17 July 2005

Take an umbrella as it can be raining in Guatemala. Rainy season is from May - October, pack accordingly. Cotton shirts or blouses are best. Make sure you take a good sunscreen (SPF 30+); a good insect repellent is important as mosquitoes could be carriers of Dengue Fever.

Don't forget a backpack, that might be usefull if your planning to travel around or sail. Hat and natural fabrics (such as cotton or linen) clothes will be useful as well. Light coat can become handy since some nights are fresher or you might get a bad weather. Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots are essential. The ruins are a good walk into the park over uneven terrain. And as usual, better to bring on the medicines you are used to take.

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