Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala Cruise Port

Although the largest Pacific Ocean port in the country, the cruise port of Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala is more for cargo traffic and as a waypoint for other areas such as the cities of Puerto San José and La Antigua Guatemala. While Puerto San José used to be Guatemala's main Pacific port, this changed to Puerto Quetzal in the 1980s. The latter is now the area's major employer. With the mountainous area around Antigua, and boasting coffee plantations as well as inactive volcanos and Mayan ruins, you have a wide variety of activities from which to choose, should you decide to venture away from Puerto Quetzal. Many cruise lines offer shore excursions to Antigua City and other points of interest. So whether you want to zipline, take in a chocolate workshop, or soak in hot springs, there’s something for everyone. Here are some favorite experiences when cruising to Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala:
 
  • If you're not interested in leaving the port area but want handcrafted goods, there's a cute crafts market that has a multitude of souvenir items, such as purses, beaded animals, shawls, and much more.
     
  • About 20 miles east is the quiet town of Monterrico where you'll find a unique black sand beach and the Monterrico Nature Reserve & Hawaii National Park. Designed to protect the area mangrove trees and sea turtles, there's also a turtle hatchling release program where you can learn about efforts to keep the species from dying out.
     
  • About 30 miles north is the Auto Safari Chapin, a zoo with hundreds of native animals and species from around the world – some of which you can get fairly close to (especially if a curious giraffe pokes its head inside the tour bus). There's also a smaller walk-through zoo if you don't want to spend the entire time driving through.
     
  • Antigua is a popular option for those disembarking at Puerto Quetzal. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this quaint town is rich in history and Guatemalan charm. It's full of museums and art, as well as food and drinks. So if you have the time, do take in this town.

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