Fact and Tips to Travel To Tikal and The Peten Department in Guatemala

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.

The Peten Department in Guatemala - tikal national park

Travel Guide to Tikal and The Peten Department in Guatemala

Where is It
See the map

Weather

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

Flores Town

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

El Remate

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

The Peten Department in Guatemala - flores island town

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

Animal Centers

  • ARCAS rescue center
  • Petencito Zoo

The Peten Department in Guatemala - arcas rescue center

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 Yaxhá
  • 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

Caves

  • Naj Tunich
  • Aktun Kan (Cave of the Serpent)
  • Ixobel Caves
  • Echoing Cave
  • Santo DOmingo
  • Pusila
  • San Miguel, Joboncho, Jovelte
  • Cueva de Las Pinturas
  • Balam Na
  • Petexbaton Area Caves
  • Tres Entradas Caves
  • Ixla

The Peten Department in Guatemala - el remate

Things to Do in Peten

Nature & Adventure Activities

  • Bird and wildlife watching tours
  • Caving
  • Spelunking
  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Horseback riding
  • Inner tubing
  • Boat Tours
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking

Less Traveled Cities

  • Sayaxcha
  • San Jose
  • San Andres
  • Poptun
  • Melchor de Mencos
  • Laguna Macanche
  • Santa Elena
  • San Benito

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Fact and Tips to Travel To Tikal and The Peten Department in Guatemala

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

5 Responses to Fact and Tips to Travel To Tikal and The Peten Department in Guatemala

  1. Colleen Llywelyn says:

    HI ,
    I am going to be in Guatemala for a CFCA mission trip from March 5th – March 12th, 2011. Then I am planning to stay on till 15th of March. I was wanting to take the tour to Tikal and or Copan out of Guatemala City. I could leave Saturday the 12th or Sunday the 13th, but have to fly out Wednesday the 16th from Guatemala City. Could you let me know what is available?
    Thank you, Colleen Llywleyn 541-515-6424
    1200 Executive Pkwy, Suite 330
    Eugene, OR 97401

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