I drove down the coast checking out a couple of potential surf spots along the way because a swell has definitely arrived, but annoyingly everywhere is just dumping on the beach.
However I stopped when I reached the lovely coastal town of Monterrico, which has a laid-back atmosphere that allows me to feel safe wandering about on my own for the first time in Guatemala.
The town is known for its volcanic black sand beach and the annual influx of sea turtles, but I went for a stroll to see if there was any chance of getting my board in the water.
Again the reality was that I would have broken my board, my neck or both in the very severe shore break so I didn’t go in. However I was cheered up immensely by bumping into a lovely Finnish girl, who you can just make out in the distance in this photo. We got chatting and I discover that she was just finishing a trip from Peru, which is the opposite way to my own adventures. I could barely pronounce her name let alone spell it so can’t enlighten you further, but I handed over the first of my business cards to a stranger and was most impressed by her ability to find a home for it despite sporting nothing more than a bikini! There was real chemistry between us and I’m thinking things are looking up, but I am gutted to discover she was going to Antigua in 10 minutes time, only to then fly home in the morning. Denied!
The encounter did put a skip in my step though because there is obviously life in the old dog yet!
I get myself settled in the hotel I chose that was a street back from the sand (www.hotelateliedelmar.com) It is the best place in town and is run by a lovely couple called Stig (who is another Finn) and his wife Violeta, both of whom make me feel very welcome. I decide to stay a couple of nights here but am heartbroken every 10 seconds throughout my stay because I can hear another big wave booming down on the shore a few hundred metres away. Guatemala just isn’t going to work for my surf aspirations and I think it is quite telling that Surfline, the USA surf forecast site, doesn’t even bother offering information for here. Never mind I will be pushing on to El Salvador later today and I know there are some all time breaks there.
For the rest of my time in town I enjoyed the wonderful hotel pool drinking enough of the local Gallo beer to float a battleship and chatting with the owners. My last night was fun too because a local Guatemalan called Paulo who works in Leeds back in the UK arrived at the hotel for a few days at the beach. This meant I had a drinking buddy who introduced me to a wonderful local seafood dish, and warned me about bumping into the legendary Cadejo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadejo) on the stumble back to the hotel!