A tiny little surfing town that most Guatemalans don’t even know about, I ended up here by chance. One of the people I was living with in Antigua just happened to be a surfer and had found out about this place through another surfer. One weekend he decided to go, and asked the rest of us if we wanted to join him.
Having attempted to surf once when I was 17 and getting smacked in the face by my surfboard, I wasn’t sure surfing was for me, but I was willing to give it another go, and I’m so glad I did. It was such an amazing experience.
When we first arrived in El Paredón, I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d gotten myself into. It was one of the smallest towns I’d ever set foot in, and all the “roads” were just sand. Black volcanic sand. But the people were so inviting, and it was liking being in one big family. And the sound of the waves crashing on the shore was something I hadn’t heard in a very long time.
The next morning our surfing lessons began. As with any surfing lesson we started on the sand, practicing standing up on our boards before heading into the water. Once we were ready, we headed down to the beach to try out our new skills. Thankfully the waves were quite small that day, as El Paredón can get some monsters than even experience surfers are reluctant to try and surf. Our instructors were brilliant, waiting for the right wave before telling us to go and giving us a push, that surfing just didn’t seem as hard as I had remembered it.
What makes El Paredón so special is hard to describe. I think maybe it’s one of those things you just have to experience for yourself. But two of the people I was travelling with loved it so much they decided to stay. When the weekend was over and the rest of us headed back to Antigua and to school, they stayed in El Paredón to keep surfing.
Getting to El Paredón is a bit of a mission but worth every minute of it, and the journey is half the fun! From Antigua take a chicken bus to Esquintla, from there take another bus to Sipacate. Once in Sipacate take a tuk tuk to the dock on the river and then get a boat to El Paredón. To get back to Antigua it’s just the same journey in reverse. Just be careful where you store your valuables while on the bus as there are a lot of pickpockets, but as long as you’re valuables are hidden away somewhere not that easy to get to, you wont have any issues. Just carry a small amount of cash on you to cover the cost of the bus/tuk tuk/boat.