From June to December, hatchling turtles migrate between the volcanic sands and pounding surf of this Guatemalan beach town, enticing nature lovers to stay beside the shore.
With long, black-sand beaches washed by powerful Pacific waves, Guatamela’s Monterrico Coast is all about the drama. People don’t come here just to chill in the sun and sip cocktails under the palms, mind. Over the last decade, the area has become an important center for turtle conservation and while hotels are basic, it’s the best place between Costa Rica and Mexico to see hatching reptiles waddle into the big deep.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Rooms and dorms in the main building, and the plusher and more spacious garden villas behind, are simple at Hotel Maya Jade – done up in brown tile and whitewash, with little more than a bed. But turtles nest on the beach right in front of the hotel, there’s a tiny pool and the hotel has a wealth of activities – from wakeboarding in the adjacent canal to surf classes and sports fishing.
Popular with weekend visitors from Guatemala City, Dos Mundos has a range of rooms (the largest big enough for families) in balcony-fronted palm-thatched villas gathered in an open-lawned garden. They’re stylish but simple affairs – in all white, with tiled floors and airy pitched roofs – but the hotel is right on the sand and has a big infinity pool and cocktail bar. Activities include mangrove tours, massages and turtle-release trips.
This on-the-beach hotel, with a selection of swimming pools for all ages, is great for families. Most rooms are simple – in whites and sky-blues – so consider an upgrade to a Superior King suite for enough space for five and a large, shared living area. Adirondack chairs lining the shore and a beachfront restaurant grant you a front-row seat of the Pacific at all times.
With a huge pool, swim-up bar and a cavernous beachside restaurant, the Cayman are popular with families at weekends. Whitewashed rooms are simple and sparsely furnished, but they’re larger than nearby neighbors. And what the hotel lacks in intimacy, it makes up for in location (just a few minutes from Monterrico, right on the beach) and value. Tours to the mangroves and turtle-releasing trips are also on the menu.
With dorm beds as cheap as a couple of caipirinhas, a busy bar, pool and ample party space, this beachside hostel is a backpackers’ favorite. Mixed dorms are cheerfully painted in rich marines. But for just a few dollars more, it’s worth upgrading to the doubles (with shared bathrooms). In keeping with the sociable style, there are hammocks for lazing, ping-pong and pool tables, beach and pool volleyball nets.
Low scale, low rise and low key, Marbella sits right on the quieter end of the beach, 1,640ft (500m) from downtown Monterrico. Double rooms and small dorms are set on the shore and in a small shady garden – all whitewashed and simply furnished; the best with balconies facing the sea – and there’s also a small beachside pool.
Bustling with families, with a big pool and a swim-up bar, a paddling area for kids and beach palapas, Café del Sol is very popular with locals, especially at weekends. Accommodation is simple, but brightly-colored and adorned with art. The centrepiece is the beachside cafe, with its tables and chairs all angled towards the sea – especially welcome at sunset, cool drink in hand. The couple behind it run a social enterprise that invests in rural areas, so many staff are hired from local villages near Montericco.
Painted in whites and ocean blues and with rooms splashed in Guatemalan indigenous textiles, the Buri sits on the edge of a palm grove, a mere minute from the sea. There’s a small pool (with a walled-off shallow area for kids) and a large rooftop sundeck. The staff are welcoming and there’s a decent on-site seafood restaurant.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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