Izabal is one of the 22 departments of Guatemala. Izabal offers an encounter with a Caribbean of exuberant, natural beauty and is home to several species including the manatee, jaguar, spider monkey and howler monkey, and is a popular place for birdwatchers.
The department of Izabal surrounds Lago de Izabal (Lake Izabal), Guatemala’s largest lake (about 48 km long and 24 km wide, with an area of about 590 km²). The stunning Lago de Izabal, is a contrast among jungle, rivers and sea, and the mixture of the Garifuna and Mayan cultures make this a magic and fantastic paradise.
The National Monument San Felipe Castle was a Spanish Colonial fort and overlooks the point where the lake flows into the Rio Dulce.
Rio Dulce starts at the San Felipe Castle, located at the encounter with the sea close to Livingston; you will find amazing paradise places of extraordinary beautiful. Among the hot sun from the tropics, the breeze from the sea, and the Caribbean humidity, this large territory concentrates the essence of this region.
The diversity representation is greatly reflected in the green Caribbean for its rich ecosystems that are habitat for different species. Among its natural reserves are: Río Dulce, Bocas del Polochic, Punta de Manabique, and Biotopo Chocón Machacas. This region also owns Quiriguá, an archeological site declared Heritage of Humanity Site by UNESCO, where the famous “Estela E”, the biggest Mayan stela, of 10.5 meters high is found. Besides, the experience of visiting Castillo de San Felipe, built in the colonial era to avoid English pirates attacks, is offered to visitors.
Izabal is also home of the only Caribbean Town in Guatemala, Livingston, and has an unusual mix of Gariguna, Afro-Caribbean, Mayan and Ladino people and culture.
The department of Izabal includes the port of Puerto Barrios (the departmental seat), Santo Tomas de Castilla.