The setting of MONTERRICO is one of the finest on the Pacific coast, with the scenery reduced to its basic elements: a strip of dead-straight sand, a line of powerful surf, a huge empty ocean and an enormous curving horizon. The village is a bit scruffy but steadily being smartened up. It’s a friendly and relaxed place fringed by the waters of the Canal de Chiquimulilla, which weaves through a fantastic network of mangrove swamps. The atmosphere changes a little on weekends when party-geared visitors from the capital fill up the hotels.

Monterrico sits at the heart of the Biotopo Monterrico–Hawaii, a nature reserve that embraces a 20km-long beach-blessed slice of the Pacific coast and includes a vital turtle-nesting ground, abundant wetlands and the small villages of Monterrico and Hawaii. Sadly, however, the reserve’s officially protected status does not prevent the widespread poaching of turtle eggs.

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