The surf pounds the shore line with the constant roll of thunder, clapping the shore in such a way that convinces one rain is soon to follow, but it never does. The strength of the waves carve out the shoreline down below the beach; one walks down to meet the water here before it drops into volcanic sand that churns in an exfoliating treatment. If not careful, this can surprise the amateur tourist with a chiropractic adjustment. A swim here is not for the faint of heart.
It is a stunningly beautiful vacation.
There are two entrances to Monterrico. One on water by boarding a public ferry in La Avellana, and one by road in from CA9A that comes to Puerto San Jose. The water entrance is pretty spectacular; the road in from Puerto San Jose has only about a gazillion speed bumps. We choose the road, because though I knew I could drive a car onto a ferry I'm a chicken about driving a rental car onto two boards that connect to a boat.
Monterrico is a typical small coastal town. Cevicherias line the road along with lots of little tiendas and places to buy water and junk food. We walked into town several times but didn't really need to leave our hotel since it had everything we needed.
I could definitely recommend anyone to stay at Johnny's Place. A guy from Canada owns it, evidenced by the fact that there is Poutin on the menu, and the little touches that fellow North Americans recognize as good hospitality. We enjoyed our stay immensely, and were glad to see he had hired only locals.
The only thing we would do differently is book in advance; we had no idea the place would be so popular even on weekdays and got shuffled from room to room as they came available, only to end in the dorm rooms the last night because there was "no room in the inn."
The place seems to have rooms and bungalows in all corners, with lots of little private pools as well as one large one.
A short walkway took one to the restaurant and bar, where all kinds of delicacies and drinks were to be procured.
The food was rave-worthy; there was nothing that wasn't perfectly prepared or seasoned. The ceviche in particular was a balance of the savory and sweet, tangy and textured. This was the "Chapin mixto" with a tomatoes, lime, salt, shrimp, mussels, crab, squid, and fish. On a hot Pacific afternoon when the whole town is half asleep nothing hits the spot quite like a cool ceviche.
Cost: Q76, or around $10. Sadly it was too expensive to eat every day.
We ate the typical breakfast nearly every morning, which consisted of eggs al gusto, refried beans, crema, queso blanco, fried plantain and bread or tortillas. This dish cost Q35, or $4.76.
This guy would show up for breakfast every morning and sit in the same spot to eat. I don't know what would have happened if the seat would've been taken.
I have never before been on a stereotypical beach vacation and was amazed to discover that they are actually a ton of fun. Basically you lounge around all day in swimwear, chatting in the pool with new friends about Trump, and drinking licuados (smoothies). We had a blast. For in between times we could sleep in hammocks, hop in the ocean, go for a walk, or play ping pong or pool.
Monterrico is known for its ecological efforts and one of these is releasing baby tortugas into the ocean. People come from all over for this, and it is pretty fun to watch. This little guy took a dive into a whole new world half a second after this photo.
The sand is a black, volcanic sand and gets hotter than your feet can bear midday; flip flops are essential for this vacation.
The light changed so much at times.
Such as @freethesandal greeting the sun.
An aqua afternoon.
And the golden light of sunset.
In summary: Monterrico is an excellent place to relax for several days. The best time for a relatively quiet time is weekdays; they say all the rich and spoiled show up from the city and Antigua for the weekends and party hard.
Room cost: expect to pay anywhere from $5-7 for a dorm room bed and $20- $60 (or more) for a private room. Johnny's Place is mid-level accommodations for Monterrico and the above prices are basically what we paid.
Transportation: from the Guatemala City airport there are shuttles and taxis available for around $40-$110 per person one way, or you can rent a car for a relatively easy drive down (once you exit the city) From Antigua there are no lack of shuttles to take you there for less than $50 or you can hop on several chicken buses for a dusty ride.
Alcohol: the bar had very reasonably priced drinks, though we didn't try anything more than a margarita. Everyone there at the time were not heavy drinkers; no one got drunk or disorderly. Probably that changes on the weekends.
Safety: we never once felt unsafe as two girls traveling. People there were very kind and friendly. Of course we exercised common sense.
That wraps it up! If you have plans to go and want more detailed info message me directly - I'd love to give you some tips and tricks for a hassle free trip.