El Petén: Places to Explore


  • El Mirador

  • El Remate

    A mellow little town on the eastern shore of Lago Petén Itzá, El Remate is known mostly for its wood carvings, made by families that have dedicated themselves to this craft for generations. Just west of... Read more

  • El Zotz

  • Flores

    The red-roof town of Flores, on an island surrounded by the waters of Lago Petén Itzá, is on the site of the ancient city of Tatyasal. This was the region's last unconquered outpost of Mayan civilization... Read more

  • Lake Petexbatún

    This impressive rain-forest lagoon was the seat of a 6th-century kingdom that extended south as far as the Verapaces and east to present-day Belize. It was ruled by a power-hungry prince whom historians... Read more

  • Monumento Natural Yaxhá-Nakúm-Naranjo

    Southwest of Tikal lies a 430-square-mi (1,200-square-km) complex of three ruins from the Late Classic period. Yaxhá is the most easily visited of these, with Nakúm and Naranjo realistically accessible... Read more

  • North Shore, Lake Petén Itzá

    The small villages of San Pedro, San José, and San Andrés, on the northwest shore of Lake Petén Itzá, have beautiful views of the sparkling lake. Several upscale lodges and hotels have opened here, and... Read more

  • Santa Elena

    Although it lacks the charms of neighboring Flores, gritty Santa Elena is pretty much unavoidable. Most services that you'll need for your trip to El Petén are usually offered here. There are also more... Read more

  • Sayaxché and Ceibal

    Though Ceibal can be reached via a dirt road that floods during the rainy season, it's best accessed by boat on the Río de la Pasión, followed by a half-hour ascent through the forest.... Down a newly paved... Read more

  • Tikal

  • Uaxactún

    Uaxactún is surrounded by thick rain forest, so the trip can be difficult. The rock-and-dirt road is passable during the drier seasons and nearly impossible at other times without a four-wheel-drive vehicle... Read more