Iztapa is a small port town along Guatemala’s Pacific coast that’s well known for sailfishing. The fishing here truly is incredible—it’s common to haul in 15-20 Pacific sailfish each day. The surfing is good too, and there isn’t much competition for waves.


Pacific Slope

Despite its somewhat dilapidated appearance, Iztapa has historic significance. As Guatemala’s original port, it was used by Spanish conqueror Pedro de Alvarado to build and harbor the boats that he would eventually sail to Peru.

The fishing at Iztapa has contributed to Guatemala being nicknamed the Sailfish Capital of the World. The records here are indeed impressive—the world records for conventional and fly-fishing single-day catches (75 and 23, respectively) were both set here. On average you can expect to catch between 15-25 Pacific sailfish each day.

Why all the fish? Ocean currents from El Salvador and Mexico mix here to create an eddy rich in the kinds of pelagic fish (like herring and mackerel) that sailfish and marlin eat. There are also large numbers of yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and dorado. The fishing is generally good year-round.

The black-sand beach at Iztapa is clean and wide and you’ll likely have the whole place to yourself. The surf is fairly consistent and is usually right-handers. One thing is for sure – you won’t have to fight for waves.

Iztapa is developing some fine accommodation options, which are usually paired with fishing trips. The fishing lodges here are luxurious and modern, while the hotels in town are noticeably more basic.

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