Santo Tomas de Castilla (aka Matias de Galvez) is a port city in Guatemala, served by Puerto Barrios (cargo and cruise port). Both are located at Amatique Bay, off Gulf of Honduras. Administratively, Santo Tomas de Castilla is part of Puerto Barrios.
The town was founded in the 1840s by the Belgians. In 1843, the territory was authorized "in perpetuity" by the parliament of Guatemala to be administered by Compagnie belge de colonisation (private Belgian company protected by King Leopold I). The company withdrew in 1854 due to financial losses.
In the early-1960s, port Santo Tomas de Castilla became primary base for the Guatemalan Navy. A highway connects Santo Tomas with Guatemala City (country's capital). The port town was also served by railroad (built by Banana Fruit Company) but due to lack of funds for maintenance, it is not currently operated.
The seaport Santo Tomas de Castilla was re-built in 1976, following an earthquake that severely damaged Puerto Barrios. Today it is one of the busiest Central American containership ports. It is adjacent to Zona de Libre Industria y Comercio (city's free trade zone) called Zolic.
In 2004, a new cruise ship terminal was completed and port Santo Tomas de Castilla started welcoming passenger ships. The new cruise terminal boosted Guatemala's tourism industry, handling around 4 cruise ships (over 6,000 passengers) per month. Cruise tourists visit Guatemala mainly for country's Mayan culture sites.
Puerto Barrios Airport serves domestic flights between Puerto Barrios and Guatemala City, handling mainly small planes transporting cruise ship passengers for day trips to Tikal and other places. Main attractions include Lake Izabal, Rio Dulce, Livingston, San Felipe Castle, Quirigua's Mayan ruins.
Among the most popular shore excursions/land tour destinations from Port Santo Tomas de Castilla is the Las Escobas Rainforest Trail.