You could lie in bed and count the birds flying by your window at these modern villas at Lake Petenchel, east of Santa Elena, part of a small group of villa-type hotels around Guatemala. Some 50 species have been spotted in the area. If you're more interested in wildlife, ask an attendant where to find the troop of spider monkeys that roams the grounds and the adjacent rain forest, or the local crocodile. All 56 rooms, in two-level bungalows spread out around the grounds, are tastefully decorated with colorful weavings and mahogany accents, and have terrific views. Vans shuttle you to and from Tikal.
5 mi (8 km) east of Santa Elena, Laguna Petenchel, Santa Elena, Guatemala
502-7931-8350-hotel; 502-2223–5000-in Guatemala City