This is the place to see! The Peten Department is home to the most impressive and mightiest Mayan ancient ceremonial cities. Tikal National Park, the main ruin, is located in a tropical forest part of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, full of wildlife and exotic birds that will capture your heart and take you back to the ancient days of the powerful Mayan.
Tikal is without a doubt breathtaking and one of the most magical places in Guatemala, aside from being a nature lover’s paradise. But don’t overlook the other fascinating lost cities of the Maya (Yaxha, and the impressive El Mirador), and the colorful island town of Flores located on Lake Peten Itza.
Travel Guide to Tikal and The Peten Department in Guatemala
Where is It
See the map
The weather in the northern area of Guatemala tends to be Hot and Humid al year long.
The dry season is from mid-October to late April. But just because it is called the dry season it doesn’t mean it won’t rain. This is normal and caused by the large local jungle. You will probably get some soft ones, mostly in the afternoon.
Where to Go in Peten
It was built entirely on a tiny island in the middle of Lake Peten Itza. Flores is a colorful, pastel, and colonial-style town with cobblestone streets and restaurants with lake views. From the sky, Flores is almost perfectly round and small enough to stroll around on foot.
Hotels are a bit more expensive here but I would recommend spending at least one night here.
Can’t Miss This
- Lakeview restaurants
- Walking tour of the colorful city
- Visit Arcas
- Boat tour of Lake Peten Itza
Located on the shores of Lake Peten Itza, El Remate is becoming a hot spot before hitting Tikal and other nearby ruins. You’ll find a great selection of hotels and tasty restaurants in this tranquil petite little village.
This is where I recommend you spend the night before you go exploring the local Mayan ruins.
Can’t Miss This
- Biotopo Cerro Cahua
- Kayaking or canoeing on Lake Peten Itza
- Swim in Lake Peten Itza
Tikal National Park
The Tikal National Park is one of those Do-Not-Miss destinations. One of the largest Mayan cities to be excavated out of all the Mayan ceremonial sites from Honduras to Mexico. Situated in the tropical forest, you’ll have plenty close encounters with monkeys, coatimundis, deer, toucans, and many more wild and exotic animals.
Can’t Miss This
- The two museums: Museo Latico and Museo Tikal
- Take a tour to get the most of your Tikal experience
- Stay for the sunrise or the sunset
Other Mayan Ruins
Tikal is pretty awesome! And you shoudñ definitely go for a visit but places like Yaxhá, Nacum or Naranjo are other nearby Mayan cities that most people don’t visit. And they are as good or more.
Then there is El Mirador. But you need to go on a five-day hike through the jungle to get there and back. If you are willing to spend a few extra bucks you could also take a helicopter there.
So much TO SEE
- ARCAS rescue center
- Petencito Zoo
Other Parks & Reserves
- Petexbatan Wildlife Refuge
- Lake Peten Itza
- Maya Mountains-Chiquibul Biosphere Reserve
- The Maya Biosphere Reserve
- Biotopo El Zotz’ San Miguel la Palotada
- Reserva Natural Privada YaxhÃ¡
- Mirador Rao Azul National Park
- Rio Azul
- Naachtun’ Dos Lagunas Biotope
- Laguna del Tigre National Park
- Las Guacamayas Biological Research Station
- Sierra del Lacandon National Park
- Rio Usumacinta
- Naj Tunich
- Aktun Kan (Cave of the Serpent)
- Ixobel Caves
- Echoing Cave
- Santo DOmingo
- San Miguel, Joboncho, Jovelte
- Cueva de Las Pinturas
- Balam Na
- Petexbaton Area Caves
- Tres Entradas Caves
Things to Do in Peten
Nature & Adventure Activities
- Bird and wildlife watching tours
- Horseback riding
- Inner tubing
- Boat Tours
- Mountain biking
Less Traveled Cities
- San Jose
- San Andres
- Melchor de Mencos
- Laguna Macanche
- Santa Elena
- San Benito
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