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Guatemala Guide


On Guatemala's South-West coast lies the island of Monterico. The town itself is not worth a visit, nor is the filthy beach around the town, however 8 km along the coast is the Reserva Natural Hawaii is operated by ARCAS - a non-profit wildlife conservation organisation, which in Monterico is dedicated to preserving the sea turtles (olives and leathers), iguanas and other animals in the local habitat. Last year they released over 16,000 hatchlings! Costs for staying and working there are US$25 per week, but bring some of your own food and do make a reservation before you go. If, when you first arrive everyone seems to be lying in hammocks do not be put off. Much of the real work goes on at night when you will walk the beach and collecting the eggs of these amazing animals hopefully before poachers take them all! During the day you can kayak in the mangrove, swim in the surf of head into town in search of food. Be aware that buses run very infrequently (around 4 times a day!) so if there is a bus when your boat arrives take it!

Guatemala Turtle Sanctuary Monterico Reserva Natural Hawaii ARCAS non-profit wildlife conservation organisation sea turtles olive leather hatchlings

Getting to El Salvador

From Monterico you can catch a boat through the mangroves to Papaturro. From there catch a bus to Chiqui and then on to the Frontera. The shack on the South side of the bus stand at Chiqui does delicious ribs, beans and rice for Q10 as well as chicken dishes!

El Salvador

In a comical lesson in travel 101 we arrived having been informed from several sources that New Zealand passports do not need a visa for El Salvador we now found out that we did. Strangely both Australia and NZ were now on the list of countries (that extended to 5 pages!!) that require visas. Countries that do not need visas include Canada and most European countries. The US appeared on both lists, but were allowed in for the usual US$10 fee.

From Antigua we caught the 4am shuttle to Copan (US$14). On the Guatemalan side you need to pay a few Q to get stamped out (strangely, as we didn't at the other Guatemalan border) and US$3 to get into Honduras (also payable in Lempira or Quetzals). Money changers at the border do not offer especially good rates so you may wish to change you money in the many restaurants and hotels in Copan that accept Quetzals.