Description: With an area of 6919 acres, this protected area was established in 1977 to promote the conservation of the estuaries and mangroves ecosystems; the area also promotes research and environmental education. Inside the reserve you may find some communities that sustain themselves by fishing and offer community tourism. On its beaches, there are marine turtle hatchery sites; inside the reserve you can attend programs focused on the conservation of marine turtles, iguanas and crocodiles.
Services: There are several hotels and restaurants options; communities also offer aquatic transportation and local guides.
Access: Two hours from Guatemala City taking CA-9 Palín-Escuintla highway; drive towards Puerto de San José until you reach a two-way junction. Turn towards the road to Puerto de Iztapa. Route 2: still on CA-9 highway, you will change to CA-2 towards Taxisco. From there turn right until you reach La Avellana community. Here you need to take a ferry through the Chiquimulilla Canal that will get you to Monterrico.
Tourist facilities: Aquatic trails through the canals, mangroves and lagoons. There are also some pedestrian trails by the Dry Forests.
Fees and schedule: US$1 per person for Guatemalan residents and US$ 3 for foreigners.
Other features: Beach tourism, sports and surfing; you can visit Hawaii Reserve that is managed by ARCAS; visit Puerto de Iztapa and Puerto de San José. At times you can observe whales and dolphins from the hotels or from the beach. You can help in the release of marine turtles under supervision of CECON, which has become one of the greatest attractions of the area. Nearby you can also visit the Auto Safari Chapin (a reserve where you drive inside the area and enjoy a true safari).
Contact: Centro de Estudios Conservacionistas (CECON, Center for Conservation Studies).
Central Office telephones: (502) 2331 0904,
2334 7662, 2334 7664.