West of the main street, about 200 meters from the pedestrian thoroughfare, Atelie del Mar (tel. 5752-5528, www.hotelateliedelmar.com, $50–56 d) has somewhat smallish rooms centered around a sizeable swimming pool. The hotel is set away from the beach and there’s a restaurant with spotty service. (Avoid the room directly above the kitchen, as smells tend to filter in.) It’s worth springing the extra $6 for a room with a/c.
Eight kilometers east in the community of Hawaii, Hawaian Paradise (tel. 5361-3011, www.hawaianparadise.com, $93 d) is another welcome addition to the area’s hotel infrastructure. Comfortable air-conditioned rooms are housed in a cheerful yellow structure topped with a palapa-roof terrace. The hotel fronts a swimming pool and the ocean and has a restaurant/bar; there are also hammock lounges and a pool table. It’s the place to go if you’re not into Monterrico’s somewhat raucous atmosphere and just want to get away from it all.
Monterrico’s most stylish beachside digs are at the Italian-owned Dos Mundos Pacific Resort (tel. 7823-0820, www.dosmundospacific.com, $120 d), located about one kilometer east of Monterrico, along the beach. This fabulous property features 14 luxurious beachfront villas with terra-cotta floors, hot-water shower, and air-conditioning housed in ecochic thatched-roof structures with private patio. The bathrooms feature artsy ceramic sinks and oversize “rain” showerheads. The fine restaurant serves excellent Italian cuisine overlooking an infinity-edge swimming pool and the sea.
Another option in this pricier domain is located east of Monterrico in the village of Hawaii. Casa Bella (www.casabellamonterrico.com, $150 per bungalow) offers spacious one or two-story bungalows (2 or 4 bedrooms) with cable TV, full kitchen, and sitting area featuring tropical rattan furniture. Each bungalow has a covered private patio with sea views. There is a pool and restaurant.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com