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The north of Guatemala, known as El Petén, is an area of lush lowland jungle whose depths conceal countless Maya ruins, half-buried and entwined by tree-roots and lianas.


Tikal, GuatemalaThe most impressive and famous of these lost cities is Tikal; a stunning collection of mighty temples at the heart of a vast national park. It is not only fascinating for its historic remains but is also a haven for wildlife, making the trip to Tikal all the more enchanting.

There is little to beat the magical experience of tramping through the hot and sticky jungle, especially in the early morning mist. You are surrounded by the eerie roar of nearby howler monkeys and the call of tropical birds, approaching temples that tower above you as they rise straight from the forest floor through the tree canopy.

There are five main protruding temples making up Tikal, which the fit and brave can climb for magnificent views, as well as thousands more remaining structures still hidden under mounds of earth, awaiting discovery.


Of the many other archaeological sites in the area, Yaxhá is easily accessible and is especially beautiful seen at sunset. The scale of these ruins suggests that it was undoubtedly a very important city during the Mayan reign. Excavation only began here in the last few years so you are able to see the archaeologists at work.

Other sites

For those wanting to delve further into history, expeditions can be arranged to many other sites such as El Mirador, Yaxchilan or Uaxactun.

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Audley Travel specialist Tom

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Tikal & El Petén by contacting one of our Guatemala specialists

Suggested itineraries featuring Tikal & El Petén

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Tikal & El Petén, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Tikal & El Petén

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Tikal & El Petén

    Accommodation choices for Tikal & El Petén

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Tikal & El Petén. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Tikal & El Petén

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Tikal & El Petén, and which use the best local guides.

    • Uaxactun camping excursion
      Mayan ruins at Uaxactun

      Uaxactun camping excursion

      Uaxactun camping excursion

      A two day / one night excursion visiting the ruins of Uaxactun and the opportunity to enjoy a locally cooked, evening meal.

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    • Yaxha at Sunset
      Sunset at Yaxha

      Yaxha at Sunset

      Yaxha at Sunset

      Yaxha, q'equchi' for green water, is located 73 km from Flores. This Maya site, discovered in 1904 by architect Teobert Maler, is situated within the Maya Biosphere Reserve along with the sites of Nakum and El Naranjo.

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    • Tikal Tour
      Mayan pyramid in Tikal

      Tikal Tour

      Tikal Tour

      Tikal is most definitely the most impressive of all the Mayan sites in Central America not only for its historical remains but because it is also a haven for wildlife, making the trip to Tikal all the more enchanting.

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