Most travellers arriving in Guatemala’s extreme west forgo the beaches in these parts and head straight from the border to Quetzaltenango or Guatemala City. But for total relaxation, a day or two in tranquil Tilapita will be time well spent.
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South of Tecún Umán, a paved road paralleling the border passes endless palm-oil and banana plantations to the humble little village of TILAPA. The dark-sand beach here has a relatively gently shelving profile compared with many places on this coast, so the undertow is less fierce and it’s easier for children to paddle in safety. Lifeguards are only posted on weekends though.
On the other side of an estuary from Tilapa is the even tinier, and more agreeable, beach settlement of TILAPITA. Here there’s a real opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy a superb stretch of clean, dark sand and the ocean (with not too much undertow). Just next to the El Pacífico hotel is a small turtle hatchery, with protected enclosures where eggs are buried until they hatch, and some information boards (the Olive Ridley turtle is the main visitor here).