Monterrico, once a sleepy fishing village with one hotel run by an ex-Peace Corps volunteer is fast becoming popular with foreigners looking to get some time by the beach on their trip to Guatemala.
The village has grown considerably in the last few years, as has the quality of its accommodations. It is a popular weekend destination with folks from Guatemala City and students from Antigua’s Spanish schools. The same architects who gave Xocomil and Xetulul Parks  their outstanding visual appeal were hired by INGUAT and local tourism authorities to provide Monterrico with an urban facelift complete with a new tree-lined entrance to the main beach, pedestrian walkway, and a boat marina fronting Canal Chiquimulilla.
The pedestrian thoroughfare, officially dubbed Paseo de Don Pedro (after Pedro Cofiño Kepfer, a key player in masterminding Monterrico’s urban facelift who died in a tragic accident in 2007), has yet to attract the upscale businesses it seems to have been designed for. Nonetheless, it is a pleasant way to get from town to the beach.
Although it’s easy to see Monterrico as a beach destination, it should be noted that it was a protected sea turtle nesting site long before it became the haunt of beach-seeking vacationers. Visitors can contribute to the conservation efforts of the local sea turtle conservation site via their paid admission to tour its grounds.
In addition to the beaches, Monterrico offers the opportunity to interact with nature in some unique ways, whether it’s touring the mangrove canals, holding a baby sea turtle in your hand before its maiden voyage out to sea, or watching a mother turtle come ashore to lay eggs in total darkness.
Try to engage in at least one of these ecologically responsible activities while keeping in mind the ecological significance of this site. The sea turtles here have a fighting chance, though they are being wiped out elsewhere by the indiscriminate harvesting of their eggs.
As for the beaches themselves, there are, in all honesty, better and cleaner stretches elsewhere along Guatemala’s Pacific seaboard. The waves break very close to the sand here and the beaches slope dramatically downwards, which means you don’t have a particularly wide stretch of beach, unlike at Iztapa  or Tilapa farther west. The undertow, as along much of the Pacific Coast, is severe and drownings are not uncommon. Exercise due caution.
There are two ways to get to Monterrico. The first of these is via the 25-kilometer road from Puerto Viejo (Iztapa). The other option is via the town of Taxisco, from which you continue south for 17 kilometers to La Avellana. At La Avellana you make a ferry crossing ($7 per vehicle), traveling for about 20 minutes through the mangrove swamps. Most people seem to prefer the route via Iztapa, as the road is smooth and fast and there are some new, enticing accommodations options along this route.
Buses leave from Guatemala City ’s Zone 4 bus terminal every 30 minutes for Taxisco on their way to Chiquimulilla between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. Connecting buses make the trip down to La Avellana.