Planning a Trip
By Bus -- Retalhuleu is serviced by regular bus service between Guatemala City and the Mexican border at Tecún Umán, as well as from Quetzaltenango. From Guatemala City, Transportes Fortaleza del Sur (tel. 502/2230-3390) buses leave roughly every 15 or 20 minutes between 2am and 6pm from 19 Calle 8-70, Zona 1. The one-way trip takes around 6 hours and costs Q45 ($6/£3). Return buses run at the same frequency during roughly the same hours. The Reu bus station is located on the northern outskirts of town.
By Car -- Retalhuleu can be reached either from Quetzaltenango or Escuintla. If you're coming from Guatemala City, the quickest route is to take CA-9, the Pacific Coast Highway, to Escuintla, and from there head west on CA-2, the coastal highway, toward Mazatenango and the Mexican border. If you're driving from Quetzaltenango, head south via Zunil to Reu.
You can easily walk the entire downtown area of Retalhuleu. If you're too tired, or night has fallen, taxis and tuk tuks are plentiful, and most rides cost just Q10 to Q15 ($1.35-$2/70p-£1). A trip to Xocomil or Xetulul should run around Q45 ($6/£3). If you're having trouble flagging down a cab, have your hotel call you one.
Retalhuleu is about 4km (2 1/2 miles) south of the coastal highway. Upon entering you're greeted by a beautiful avenue -- la calzada de las palmas -- lined with tall Royal palm trees. The entire city is centered around its popular central plaza, and just about every hotel, restaurant, attraction, and service is within a 2-block radius of this plaza.
Fast Facts -- There are several banks within a block of the central plaza, including Banco G&T Continental (tel. 502/7771-3849) and Banco Industrial (tel. 502/7771-0684). The post office (tel. 502/7771-0909) fronts the central plaza. There are also a host of Internet cafes around Reu. One of the best, Café Internet Antigua (tel. 502/7771-4421), has two separate storefronts in downtown.
The Hospital Nacional de Retalhuleu (tel. 502/7771-0116) is located on Boulevard Centenario 3a Avenida, Zona 2.