I may have just found the new Costa Rica- when you think of going to Central America most would instantly think of Costa Rica and maybe Belize. Admittedly it was Costa Rica I visited first, but after my recent trip to Guatemala-it would be a shame to so easily dismiss the idea of vacationing here!

Palms
Palms

Not having done loads of research prior to my trip I wasn’t entirely too sure what to expect, but Guatemala certainly did not disappoint-my only regret may be that I didn’t have long enough time to explore all it has to offer! If you are looking for a little R&R at a typical Caribbean all-inclusive beach hotel for a much cheaper price, then Puerto San Jose has the only hotel like this in the country and offers transfers to and from the airport.

Hotel Soliel Pacifico
Hotel Soliel Pacifico

I stayed at the Hotel Soliel Pacifico and although it offered all the amenities of a typical all-inclusive its quaintness allowed you to slip into the local life of a seaside village in Guatemala.  Here, I found the most stunning black sand beach I have ever laid eyes on. The beach was wide, the waves were high enough to surf, the waters were crystal clear and to my surprise I didn’t feel many fish circling my feet since these waters are home to many deep sea fishing contests. What I found most appealing was the seemingly untouched coastline. As I mentioned, this is the only resort in San Jose, and not even our resorts’ pool reached the water.  Looking inland from the water it was almost like you had landed on an uninhabited island, all you saw in every direction was lush palm trees with a few thatched huts-an unspoilt coast!

Untouched Beaches
Untouched Beaches

Seemingly being the only ‘gringa’ at the resort I was graciously welcomed and got lots of opportunities to practice my elementary Spanish.  The resort offers 3 large pools, hot tubs and very reasonable beach side massages. The grounds were green and lush, and every room came equipped with an oversized balcony. No matter the day you could find a spot on the resort to enjoy a Gallo, Guatemala’s national beer, and take in the beautiful Pacific on one side and the smoking Volcanoes further inland.

Guatemala's Volcanoes
Guatemala’s Volcanoes

I highly recommend you give Guatemala a chance, what I saw left me awe-struck and given a bit more time a trip to Tikal and Lake Atitlan would be in order. Only a short trip from the states it is worthy as an alternative to relaxing in Mexico or exploring Costa Rica-Guatemala offers a little of each and is sure to captivate the traveler in you!