Warning: black sand is deadly at midday

About 2 hours south of Antigua is El Paredon, on Guatemala’s Pacific coast. You won’t find any luxury beach resort sky scrappers here. In El Paredon the beach is lined with a few small hotels and hostels, mostly with roofs made of palm leaves.

A perfect/average day (for me) looks like this:
Walk on the beach while the sun rises over the ocean
Leisurely have some coffee
Swim in the ocean before it gets too hot
Move to a comfy seat with more coffee, breakfast, and either your laptop or a book
Hop in the pool to cool off and keep reading
Dry off and have some lunch
Get back in the pool
Put your shoes on to run into the ocean, then put your shoes back on to run back to the pool
Keep alternating pool and lounge chair for the rest of the afternoon
Change out of your bathing suit, grab a drink, and watch the sunset over the waves
Board games, drinks, and sleep


If you’re feeling adventurous you could learn to surf. Lots of little waves close together make it seem like not the greatest spot for beginner surfing, and a little rough for swimming too. But, surfing is really popular here.

My third trip to the beach included a paddle board trip through some mangroves. I managed to stand up for a bit but I was a bit unsteady.

Mangroves are tropical trees that thrive in conditions most timber could never tolerate — salty, coastal waters, and the interminable ebb and flow of the tide. With the ability to store vast amounts of carbon, mangrove forests are key weapons in the fight against climate change.”

As we paddled through the forest of mangroves everything was quite. The water was completely still (and stinky, like sulfur) and it seemed like we were the only things moving, besides the mosquitoes. Hot temps, still, smelly water, and humans full of blood are the absolute perfect conditions for mosquitoes.

I love a place where the only time you really need to put on shoes is to run over the sand because it is too hot. El Paredon was my first black sand beach (because volcanoes). It’s really pretty. The color provides a great contrast to the water and the sky. It gets soooo hot though. Holy moly I had no idea how bad it would be. I once thought I could make it to the water. I had to stop because I was in so much pain. But even though I was in pain I couldn’t move for fear of more pain. I thought I would be stuck there until sunset. I barely made it back to a slightly shaded spot to recover, then sprinted back to the pool to soothe my feet and find my sandals. My feet were a bit sore for another day at least. Honestly the sandals only help a bit because the sand gets in. But it is o so pretty and o so worth it.

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