Guatemala Surf and Turf
Word is getting out that Guatemala offers some of the best sailfishing in the world; there are now numerous recommended outfitters and accommodations to host your stay. Another way to get out onto the water, whale-watching tours are available from December to March when several species of the giant mammals — including humpback whales — cross Guatemalan shores.
Back on land, Guatemala City has at least four good golf courses — but the star player is just one hour outside the city and conveniently located near Antigua Guatemala. Virtually all of the sailfishing outfitters have agreements with Guatemalan golf courses, allowing clients to easily combine the two activities.
Your base for sailfishing the Guatemalan Pacific Coast will likely be Iztapa, about 90 minutes from Guatemala City. Sailfish Bay Lodge is my favorite place to base a trip out of; it’s among the best outfitters, with a lodge right on the beach. Another good option is Casa Vieja Lodge, near Puerto San José. You can fish from one to five days (or more), taking a morning for whale-watching in season, and then tacking on an extra day or two for golf.
Guatemala is a stopping point along the migration path of humpback whales and whale-watching is a recent addition to the country’s tourism offerings. Other species you might spy on a whale-watching tour include pilot whales, whale sharks, sea turtles, and bottlenose dolphins. Scheduled tours leave weekend mornings from Antigua Guatemala or Iztapa, beginning and ending in the Puerto Quetzal marina.
Splendidly set on a former coffee plantation just 20 kilometers from Antigua, La Reunión Antigua Golf Resort is the only place in the world where you can enjoy a round of golf with a view of four volcanoes, two of which are active. Practice your swing at the driving range in the shadow of smoke-belching Fuego Volcano; its 18-hole, Pete Dye–designed Fuego Maya golf course takes its inspiration from the 19-month Mayan solar calendar. The adjacent, 26-suite hotel offers fabulous accommodations and delectable culinary creations. You may never want to leave.
It’s only an hour from La Reunión to Guatemala City, or 45 minutes to the Pacific Coast. You can easily combine a stay in Antigua and/or Guatemala City with some golf time, as almost any time of year is well-suited to this activity thanks to Guatemala’s near-perfect climate. In the vicinity of Guatemala City, the best place to tee off is San Isidro Golf Club. It enjoys wonderful views of the city from its location in the surrounding hillsides.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com