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Puerto Quetzal Shore Excursion Tips

Antigua Guatemala. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Puerto Quetzal shore excursions emphasize many ways of touring the single biggest attraction near this Guatemala port. That attraction is the colonial city of Antigua.

The city of Puerto Quetzal has a population of less than 20,000 people. It doesn’t offer some of the major attractions of other important cruise ports on the Mexico and Central America cruise ports. Antigua makes up for that lack, but cruise visitors can still find other things to do.

Cruise ships dock at this port on the Pacific coast of Guatemala almost all year round. From the port, there are excursion buses, taxis and private sedans that are always willing to take tourists to their destinations.

Tuc-tucs—small golf-cart sized taxis that look somewhat like supercharged tricycles with backseats and windshields—are becoming one of the most popular modes of local tourist transportation in Guatemala. Normally, fare should not exceed $1.50 per passenger.

After arriving, visitors can enjoy a wide number of activities.

1. Antigua Shore Excursion

Puerto Quetzal to Antigua Map

The colonial city of Antigua is about 50 miles north of Puerto Quetzal. This UNESCO World Heritage city has Spanish baroque architecture, cathedral ruins and colorful facades.

Excursions last up to eight hours and cost $75 to $100 or more including amenities such as lunch.

2. Explore Old Mayan Ruins

Puerto Quetzal is a major gateway city to exploring some of the most fascinating ancient Mayan ruins. The ancient city of Tikal is, for example, quite amazing. Tikal was one of the most important Mayan cities.

The ruins still stand today and are among the best-preserved in the world. Here, dozens of tour operators solicit visitors at the ports and ensure that their visit is guided and safe.

3. Deep Sea Fishing

For deep-sea fishing enthusiasts, Iztapa, a few miles east, has attracted world-class fishermen from all over the world. Here, Yellowfin tuna and marlin are caught with surprising regularity. In short, Iztapa is a fishing town and is unpatrolled with fishing adventures.

4. Go to The Beach

The area around Puerto Quetzal has the best beaches in all of Guatemala with the very best only accessible by boat across the Canal de Chiquimulilla.

About three miles west in Balneario Chulamar, there are a number of beaches as well. Also, three miles to the east is Balneario Likín, a popular Guatemalan resort town. Activities such as surfing, kayaking and snorkelling are widely popular on the Pacific shore of Guatemala.

5. Dining and Nightlife

When night falls, Puerto Quetzal also falls into an ambience of laid back glamour. There are a number of dining and nightlife establishments specifically for tourists.

6. Bird watching

More than most destinations, bird watching is a popular pastime in Puerto Quetzal. In particular, be on the lookout for the quetzal, Guatemala’s national symbol, and the animal after which the port was named.

One kayaking and bird watching shore excursion cost about $90 per person. Others that last a full day cost $150 or more.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
November 23, 2021

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