Southeast of the capital, bustling ESCUINTLA ranks as Guatemala’s third largest city with a population of around 130,000. Despite its size there’s nothing to see here, but you do get a good sense of life on the coast – its heat, pace and energy, as well as the frenetic industrial and agricultural commerce that drives it. The city dominates this stretch of Pacific coast, along with Puerto San José, formerly its most important port – though neither place is at all attractive. In the city centre, below the plaza a huge, chaotic market sprawls across several blocks, spilling out into 4 Avenida, the main commercial thoroughfare.

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