Puerto Quetzal is Guatemala's largest Pacific Ocean port. While Puerto Quetzal is not considered a primary tourist destination, it is regarded as an ideal point of departure for exploring other areas of Guatemala. It does offer an opportunity to see the 500-year-old Spanish colonial town of Antigua. Located about 90 minutes away, leave plenty of time for getting to and from Antigua.
Founded in 1983, it is crucial both as a cargo port and a stop for cruise liners. Its construction was to help connect nearby cities and serve as a hub from which tourists can take the opportunity to see some of Guatemala's stunning, volcano-studded landscape.
Where You Dock in Puerto Quetzal (Antigua), Guatemala
Puerto Quetzal is the largest Pacific Ocean port in Guatemala. The Marina Pez Vela has two piers where ships dock. One pier is the dock for cruise ships, and the other is usually reserved for cargo ships.
If, under certain circumstances, your cruise ship docks at the cargo pier, passengers can take a free 10-minute shuttle to the cruise terminal.
Located near the cruise terminal is a visitor center. You will find some souvenirs, postcards, books, and information on excursions to other areas of Guatemala.
Getting Around Puerto Quetzal (Antigua), Guatemala
Puerto Quetzal is mainly a point from which to explore other areas of Guatemala. Once off the ship, it is an easy walk to the Visitors Center. This is the place to book excursions. There are taxis available, but they can end up being pricey as Antiqua, the largest city, is 90 minutes away.
Shopping In Puerto Quetzal (Antigua), Guatemala
Guatemala is famous for its textiles, but there is not much shopping in Puerto Quetzal. The Visitor Center will have some small souvenirs, but you will need to travel to Antigua to do any type of actual shopping.
Puerto Quetzal is not a stand-alone tourist attraction but a port in the truest sense. You will find vendors outside of the Visitor’s Center selling small, inexpensive items, but they are of lesser quality.
Dining In Puerto Quetzal (Antigua), Guatemala
In Guatemala the cuisine is reminiscent of the dishes Mayans used to eat. You will find that most of the dishes will feature some variation of rice, corn, or beans. Flavoring is often done with chilies. Unfortunately, there are no restaurants in Puerto Quetzal.
There is one restaurant near Porto de San Jose, less than a mile away, and it is an open-air venue called Pez Vela. It is located behind the marina and has a menu printed in both Spanish and English. They will have sandwiches, soups, and various types of ceviche, which is spiced fish cooked with onions and lemon juice.
Things To Do in Puerto Quetzal (Antigua), Guatemala
As a port for cargo and cruise ships, Puerto Quetzal does not offer much in the way of things to do. If you leave the ship, you will pass over an open-gate bridge to get to the Visitor’s Center. It is not an extensive center but will offer local information, have tour sign-ups, and an area that sells postcards and stamps.
Puerto Quetzal is the point from which you will leave to visit other areas of interest. The largest city in Antigua, Guatemala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is about 90 minutes away. Antigua is a lovely Spanish colonial city that is both walkable and charming. In Antigua, you will find churches, museums, and cafes. Antigua offers a break from the more hurried pace of other destinations.
You will be able to see some of the city of Antigua’s well-preserved colonial sights. This historical city has a natural beauty that is evident in its Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture and several ruins of colonial churches. Click here to book.
A tour guide will pick you up from the cruise pier for the 90-minute ride to Antigua. You will be in an air-conditioned vehicle as you pass through forests and volcanoes until you arrive in the heart of the city. You will have time in the city to browse shops for handcrafted items and visit the Jade Factory Museum. Click here to book.
After walking through beautiful Antigua, take a dip in the Santa Teresita Hot Springs that features 12 thermal pools. The walking tour is about one and a half hours and gives you a chance to see the city’s structures like La Merced Church and the Santa Catalina Arch. Click here to book.
The Santa Teresita Hot Springs gets its heat from the nearby Pacaya Volcano. The 12 thermal pools vary in size and temperature, so you are sure to find the one that suits you best. This is also the place to take advantage of massages, manicures, and pedicures for a relaxing and stress-free day. Click here to book.
This is the perfect way to learn about Antigua’s history and traditional cuisine. You will get to sample Guatemalan food whose roots date back to the 16th century and sample handmade candies made from fruit and local ingredients. This tour includes roundtrip transportation and an expert guide. Click here to book.
Antigua is a charming city, and taking a private tour will enable you to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site to its full advantage. You will be transported to Antigua, visit the ruins of Santo Domingo Convent and be able to tour the Jade Factory and Museum. This full-day tour also visits the Cathedral Church of San Jose, a beautiful park with circular walkways, a large fountain, and the Santa Catalina Arch. Click here to book.