The rough beach life of Monterrico

The first encounter with Guatemala took place in Monterrico, a tiny fisherman village on the Pacific Coast. Previous visitors reported it’s dirty, hot as hell, inappropriate for swimming and quite deserted during weekdays. Well, they were right, the place is undeniably not for the faint-hearted. But for those restless souls who value the raging ocean with all its quirks, it’s a subconscious dream come alive. 

 guatemala monterrico

The mangroves tour

Early morning trip to the mangroves reveals a rich wildlife, tropical birds and four-eyed fish, special creatures, able to see the world above and underwater at the same time. Local fishermen immersed in their morning routine, searching for catfish and other aquatic beasts. As the day is awakening, so is the sun, only a few hours left before the heat gets unbearable. Cleaning the dirty unpaved streets, preparing for the day ahead. There is not much to do, but to spend upcoming hours in the shade of palm trees, sipping coconuts as known as Cocos frios or trying to make a living. As a vendor, lady of tortillas or the local painter, in charge of the tacky wall decorations depicting sunsets in all their glory. 

guatemala monterrico

guatemala monterrico

  The struggles

Since Guatemala has several problems, one is certainly a lack of garbage distribution system, the wildlife gets ruined daily with piles of trash, being left absolutely everywhere. The only solution by the locals is burning the trash, leading to lung disease as one of the most common causes of death among people. Western products find their way anywhere, so is cheap plastic and surplus of packaging. Picking up the litter on a Friday morning raises quite a few suspicious looks among residents, used to shoving the garbage out of driving vehicles. The country has a long way to go, starting with the basics, as it’s education or social welfare. A story about an abandoned boy, who sleeps in the hotel breaks a heart, as the only solution is the orphanage, with absolutely no other institution in the country willing to help. Guatemalan life is as harsh as the tropical heat and violent Pacific waves, crushing down the weakest

Monterrico Guatemala

Monterrico Guatemala

No one backs down, not even just hatched tiny turtles on their first, for some the last, pathway to the ocean. This is the way of nature leaving only the strongest and most adaptable to survive, with others gone to a distant memory of past time. 

Monterrico Guatemala

The setting sun

But every evening, without exception, there comes a time, when the atmosphere changes. The beach, uninhibited during the day, comes alive just in time for the big spectacle. The wind calms down, the sky colours in every possible shade of dusty pink, the white foam caresses black sand while flocks of pelicans, orderly flying in line, take over the air. Residents hurry to the black dunes of sand with a childlike excitement only the sea can evoke. Since the water is too savage for most, probably only a few know how to swim, they stay on the verge of the ocean, dancing in the shallow water, until another big wave thrust them to the solid ground. They laugh and whoop and bury themselves in the sand, as there is nothing in the world to worry about. The beach is their playground, no matter what their age or social status. 

Monterrico Guatemala

  Monterrico Guatemala

Monterrico Guatemala

 The steam

The sun at the equator sets early, at around 6 o’clock, that is when the nightlife begins. With Monterrico being a hot spot for a weekend getaway of Guatemala City residents, the village fills with huge pickup trucks, brimming with people ready to let off some steam. No one escapes lustful reggaeton vibes overfilling the sizzling night atmosphere, there is an intense energy in the air, comprised out of need and desire. There is no point in pretence, animal instincts sleep in each one of us. The new cycle begins again, as the dawn rises and another day is born. 

Monterrico Guatemala

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25 Comments

  1. I love how you’ve captured the local vibes here in your photos. I don’t know much about Guatemala so this was interesting to read!

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      Thank you! You should definitely come back for more information, there is plenty of material to come … πŸ™‚

  2. Katy
    February 3, 2018
    Reply

    Gorgeous photos! This little beachy village looks like a dream!

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      It does feel like one too!

  3. February 4, 2018
    Reply

    It definitely sounds like an interesting, multi-faceted trip. It seems the country is dealing with a lot of issues, but surely it makes you come out of the experience better and more culturally aware! It still sounds like a lovely time, especially the reggaeton vibes ! πŸ˜‰ hahah

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      Guatemala is so diverse, don’t know where to start … it makes you think. A lot!

  4. Alexander Popkov
    February 4, 2018
    Reply

    I would be interested to go. I like exploring life of locals and shoot some documentary photography. On a normal beach resort, I cannot stay more than 3 days… it gets boring.

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      Yep, I agree! I am getting so used to remote places it feels weird to be on a beach with a bunch of other strangers! They are blocking the view πŸ™‚

  5. February 5, 2018
    Reply

    As they say, the divine and the profane often exist side by side, sometimes very distinct, and at times, there is a zone where both merge on murky waters. This seems to be one such place, where extreme poverty and relentless pollution exists side by side with a beautiful landscape.

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      Absolutely … I have a feeling that these two extremes go hand in hand quite often!

  6. February 6, 2018
    Reply

    Your post makes me miss our hometown. My Mom’s place is also near the beach, and my former HS building has this huge mangrove farm at the back of our school. I wish there will be more mangroves in many areas worldwide.

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      Oh wow, such a nice home place!! Mangroves do add a dramatic effect, somehow they look so ancient πŸ™‚

  7. February 6, 2018
    Reply

    Even an ordinary little village like Monterrico has the potential to assume dramatic proportions with a blazing sunset like that one. I can imagine the gradual, subtle changes in the sky as the day ended. What a lovely post, made great reading.

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      Thank you! It was one of my all time favourite moments, so magical …

  8. February 6, 2018
    Reply

    a boat ride through the mangroves? that has to be a great experience. The beach looked fabulous to me. Lack of tourists must be a gift in this case. πŸ™‚

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      It definitely is! The morning boat ride was special indeed, I don’t have a chance to see mangroves often!

  9. February 6, 2018
    Reply

    Lovely photos! It truly captured the lives of the people and the animals living there. I love sunsets and would to spend time at the beach just to see the colors of the sky when the days starts to fade away.

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      Yep, that what most people do, every single day πŸ˜€ Can’t get enough of it …

  10. Interesting to read about your adventures in a non-touristy place. Certain aspects of Guatemala are similar to India I guess.
    Awesome photos btw! πŸ™‚

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      I actually heard that before, that Guatemala is similar to India! I haven’t visited India yet, I report when I do πŸ™‚

  11. February 8, 2018
    Reply

    ooh, that Baby turtle is just so adorable. Loved that capture of it. Seems like a nice beach though stormy. I suppose you can only sit around and enjoy the waves.

    • March 5, 2018
      Reply

      Oh no, you can definitely go to the water! For stronger swimmers it is possible to swim, otherwise one can play with the waves πŸ™‚

  12. Dave
    February 18, 2018
    Reply

    ❀️

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