This hot, humid port city holds little of interest for travelers except as a jumping-off point to surrounding attractions such as Punta de Manabique Wildlife Refuge , Lívingston , and resorts across the Bahía de Amatique. It was once Guatemala’s main Caribbean shipping port but has been replaced by Puerto Santo Tomás de Castilla  across the bay.
Construction of the port that now bears his name was initiated by reformist President Justo Rufino Barrios in the 1880s and was linked to Guatemala City  via a railroad completed in 1908. Puerto Barrios was important during the long-past glory days of the United Fruit Company. The company financed much of the railroad’s completion and linked its banana plantations to Puerto Barrios, which served as the company-controlled shipping center for produce bound for New Orleans and New York.
United Fruit was sold to Del Monte in the 1970s and Puerto Barrios sank into a tropical slumber.
Most of the transport in and out of Puerto Barrios is via the excellent Transportes Litegua (6a Avenida and 9a Calle, tel. 7948-1172, www.litegua.com ), which operates comfortable, modern buses departing every half hour to and from Guatemala City . Some buses stop in Morales en route, where you get off for Río Dulce .
Boats leave from the municipal dock at the end of 12 Calle. There is ferry service to Lívingston  ($1.50, 1.5 hours) Mon.–Sat. at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Try to get there at least 30 minutes prior to departure time to secure your seat.