Monterrico is the textbook definition of a laid-back beach town. Given that the surf here is often too rough for most casual bathers, the prime activities are hanging out in a hammock and reading a book. If you do decide to swim, make sure you feel very comfortable with your abilities and ask your hotel if the current surf conditions are safe. It's often best to choose a spot where you see others already swimming. Also, be sure to bring sandals, as the sand can get extremely hot under the bright sun.

A good way to stay off your feet is to take a horseback ride along the beach. Your hotel should be able to arrange a ride for around Q20 to Q40 ($2.65-$5.35/£1.35-£2.65) per hour. They can also arrange a fishing excursion with a local boat captain, which should run you Q500 to Q1,500 ($68-$200/£34-£100) for a half-day depending on the size and comfort level of the boat and the type of tackle provided.

If you want to brush up on your Spanish, check in with El Proyecto Lingüístico Monterrico (tel. 502/5558-9039) on the Calle Principal. Rates run around Q675 ($90/£45) for 20 hours of study over a 5-day week. For an extra Q375 ($50/£25) per week, they can arrange room and board with a local family.

Off to the Races -- There are no hares, but the turtles take off for the finish line every Saturday from September to December, when the Tortugario Monterrico holds a sunset race to the sea. For Q15 ($2/£1), sponsors pick a hatchling turtle from the facility's large tanks, place their competitor at the starting line, and wait for the signal to set their turtle into a frantic, albeit not blazing, dash to the sea. The sponsor whose turtle makes it to the water first wins. Prizes can range from a T-shirt to a dinner donated by a local restaurant.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.