Puerto Barrios

Puerto Barrios on the map of Guatemala

Puerto Barrios is a port city on the Caribbean coast of Guatemala. Puerto Barrios is the administrative seat of the greater community ( municipality ) and capital of the department of Izabal. The city was named after the former Guatemalan President Justo Rufino Barrios Auyón.


Puerto Barrios, with its 60,000 inhabitants, is the largest port city on Guatemala's narrow access to the Caribbean. The city is located 297 km north-east of Guatemala City at the foot of Montañas del Mico, a spur of the Sierra de las Minas, at the Bahía de Amatique, a bay in the Gulf of Honduras, near the mouth of the Río Motagua.

The 1292 km ² large municipality has about 100,000 inhabitants in five sub- communities ( Aldeas ), including Santo Tomás de Castilla ( Matias de Gálvez ). It is bordered to the north by the Caribbean Sea, on the southeast by Honduras, on the southwest by the municipality of Morales and on the west by Livingston (both to Izabal ).


The idea for better economic development of the country to build on the Caribbean coast a large sea port and to connect it by a railway line with Guatemala City and Puerto San José on the Pacific, put the liberal reformers and President Justo Rufino Barrios in 1883 into practice. The city was inaugurated in 1895, ten years after Barrios ' death, the rail link after several delays until 1908. Both the port and the railroad soon got into the dependence of the almighty U.S. United Fruit Company. In its heyday, the entire Guatemalan banana export was handled via this port. With the demise of their banana empire in the 1960s began the decline that was exacerbated in 1976 by ​​a major earthquake in Puerto Barrios. The reconstruction of the seaport was a few kilometers southwest, in Santo Tomás de Castilla, where 1843-1854 some Belgians had settled.

Economy and Transport

Puerto Barrios has never fully recovered after the decline of the 1960s and, in particular due to the substantial shift of commercial shipping to Santo Tomás. The cruise ships that will help the tourism in inland areas on the legs, place in Santo Tomás. About the recently modernized airport Puerto Barrios make tourists then a short trip to Peten ( Tikal ) or to destinations in the Highlands. Also in local tourism is Puerto Barrios only a way station for boat trips to Livingston to Punta Gorda and (Belize). The town is the terminus of the heavy traffic through the chronically congested and so far developed only partially to the motorway highway CA 9 ( Carretera Interoceanica ), which runs from Puerto San José on the Pacific over Guatemala City to the Caribbean. The adjacent running rail line is currently not in operation.

In Puerto Barrios is since 2008 the headquarters of the Kaibiles, a special unit of the Armed Forces of Guatemala. In Santo Tomás is a naval base with the Comando Naval del Caribe. The Puerto Barrios Airport has a military part.


Historic interest in the city of Puerto Barrios themselves are some buildings from the time of their earlier flowering: old warehouses that built in wood Hotel del Norte with its historic interiors and a tomb in the form of a reduced Taj Mahal. In the Bahia de Amatique the Punta Manabique Peninsula and, with its mangrove forests as an attraction. Not from the industrial port of Puerto Barrios, but from the pier Muelle Municipal Boats go to Livingston and further through the Río Dulce to Lake Izabal. Nearly 100 kilometers southwest of Puerto Barrios removes the Mayan ruins of Quirigua is.


Puerto Barrios | Livingston | El Estor | Los Amates | Morales

  • Location in Guatemala
  • Location seaport
  • Department of Izabal