Set on a hill and surrounded by lush coffee plantations, Coatepeque is a brash and chaotic commercial center, noisy and humid at all times. If you read the papers, the name Coatepeque should be familiar. A major stopover on the Colombia–Mexico drugs 'n' guns route, this town probably has more gang-related activity than any other outside of Guatemala City. Tourists are never the target and rarely get caught in the crossfire, but keep your wits about you. This is another facet of Guatemala, and probably not one you want to get too acquainted with.
If you're here to see the ruins at Takalik Abaj, Retalhuleu is a much better bet. If you really want to stay here or (more likely) get stuck, there are a couple of places in the relatively quiet town center that will put you up admirably.
Maya Expeditions runs rafting expeditions on the nearby Río Naranjo.