Visit Tikal & El Petén, Guatemala
The north of Guatemala, known as El Petén, is an area of lush lowland jungle whose depths conceal countless Mayan ruins, half-buried and entwined by tree-roots and lianas.
The 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.
For those wanting to delve further into history, expeditions can be arranged to many other sites such as El Mirador, Yaxchilan or Uaxactun.
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.
GuatemalaView this tour
Guatemala and BelizeView this tour
GuatemalaView this tour
Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and MexicoView this tour
Map of Tikal & El Petén
Places & hotels on the map
Photos of 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.
A small boutique hotel located in a large private reserve.
Set on a steep bank above the shores of Lake Peten-Itza, Nitun Lodge is located in an idyllic rainforest setting.
La Lancha Resort, owned by Francis Ford Coppola, has beautiful views overlooking Lake Petén Itzá.
Perfectly located for exploring the ruins at Tikal and the surrounding jungle, the Hotel Posada de la Selva offers simple yet comfortable accommodation within the national park just one hour's drive from Flores.
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.
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.
A two day / one night excursion visiting the ruins of Uaxactun and the opportunity to enjoy a locally cooked, evening meal.
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.