Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
Puerto Quetzal is Guatemala’s largest Pacific Ocean port, located in central South America.
Puerto Quetzal’s best activity is sightseeing by boat. Visitors can go on sailing and fishing trips in an area called Marina Pez Vela within the larger terminal.
Monterrico Nature Reserve & Hawaii National Park (Biotopo Monterrico-Hawaii) is located in the neighbouring city of Monterrico. There is also a nice beach here.
Nearby Retalhuleu is where you can visit the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Xocomil Waterpark (Acuatico Xocomil) is also here.
The city of Antigua is famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque architecture and has number of spectacular ruins of colonial churches. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Lake Atitlán is recognised to be the deepest lake in Central America with maximum depth about 340m and is framed by three volcanos.
Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. The site is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The disabled cruiser visiting Puerto Quetzal
Where You’re Docked
Cruise ships dock at Puerto Quetzal cruise terminal. There is a Jade Museum and local vendor stalls nearby.
Private cars for hire may be available at the terminal, however a ship organised tour may be the best bet.
Good to Know
Persistent locals can try your patience if you just want to stroll around the shops inside the visitors’ center to browse without buying. They’ll use high-pressure sales tactics, but a firm “no, thank you” or no, gracias usually does the trick. Also beware that prices are rarely posted on items; it’s a sign that haggling is fair game. Never accept the initial price a salesperson quotes you, unless the prices are clearly marked on items from the start. If you can withstand the pressure to buy immediately, don’t feel bad about checking prices elsewhere before making a purchase. Sales tactics are much less fierce in Antigua, where street vendors might follow you for a bit but will take no for an answer and vendors inside the Old Cinema Market barely try to sell you at all.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The official monetary unit in Guatemala is the quetzal (named after the country’s official bird), but American dollars can be used throughout Puerto Quetzal, as well as in Antigua. Be sure to have small bills available, as change might not be given back to you in U.S. currency. Also be sure that your dollars are free from even the slightest rips or tears, or they might be refused by shop owners. Credit cards are not generally accepted. If you run low on cash, an ATM is available at the welcome center.
Spanish is the primary language spoken throughout Guatemala, but most folks working in the port speak at least some English. It’s still a good idea to study up on common phrases and numbers, download a translation app to your smartphone or carry a phrasebook. In Antigua, restaurant waitstaff speak some English, but most others do not.
Most shops are located at Antigua and Guatemala City but you may find limited selections in neighboring towns. Local handicrafts such as woven purses and bags, belts, blouses and blankets are popular buys. Most vendors sell beautiful hand-woven blankets and hammocks at reasonable prices. Also keep an eye out for handmade scarves, tablecloths, placemats and jewelry.
Guatemalan cuisine is a combination of Spanish, European and Indian. You will find seafood, fish and meat dishes on menus. Try the ‘hot bananas’, prepared with chili and chocolate sauce, chicken pepian and red snapper with cashews, which is a local speciality.
Guatemalans are also experts when it comes to making coffee.
Points of Interest
- Puerto Quetzal – a seven-
Puerto Quetzal Accessible Excursions
Whether your cruise ship stops in
Puerto Quetzal Accessible Guided Tour
This 4 hour accessible