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What to Visit in Petén

Have you ever wondered what to do when in Petén? We may have found what you need to fully discover such a beautiful region. Throughout this article, we classified the most naturally aspiring and beautiful sites.  We hope you will enjoy our selection.

Yaxha Nakum Naranjo National Park – more than 3 hours

This treasure from nature is located on the shore of the lake Yaxha in Petén. The park covers about 91,800 acres. This is a Mayan oasis within the dense rainforest and this is a cultural heritage of the Mayans. The place is categorized as the most populated area of the Mayan classic. You will be able to observe a wide variety of temples, palaces, and ball-courts and also you will enjoy such a beautiful view from the top of the rainforest and the lake.

We recommend you to spend more than 3 hours visiting the site.

Parque Nacional El Mirador – at least 7 days and 6 nights

This little paradise is located a few kilometers South from the Mexican border, in the heart of the Maya biosphere reserve. The site is 637.5 miles long.
How fantastic it is to enjoy the best trekking experience ever! You will learn so much about local biodiversity and you will even be able to share with locals from the Carmelita community. You may admire the famous pyramid named la Danta. Last but not least, you will appreciate such magnificent sunsets.

We advise you to stay 7 days and 6 nights, but if you wish to include a visit to Nakbe, Naachtun, and explore the wonders of Rio Azul, planning 12 to 14 days would be pretty helpful.

Parque Nacional Sierra del Lacandón: About 2 hours

This breathless park is located in the Libertad municipality in Petén, in the heart of the Maya biosphere reserve and it measures around 1.42 miles. Did you know that Sierra del Lacandon symbolized the biggest extension of humid subtropical rainforest in Central America?

It was created in 1990 and is perceived as the second largest national park in Guatemala. This site is described as one of the 7 areas nucleus of the reservation of the Mayan biosphere. It also owns an immense biodiversity as well as invaluable ecosystems such as virgin rainforest within the Usumacinta river basin.

We suggest you plan about 2 hours to have time discovering it all. It is truly worth it and memorable.

Jungle of Tikal – At least half a day

This fabulous site is located within the Tikal’s National park, at only half a mile away from Tikal Grand Plaza. It is situated right in the middle of the rainforest. The site covers about 222 miles square. We were amazingly surprised to hear that this jungle was the only natural and cultural UNESCO world heritage site in Central America. It actually owns 410 species of birds, hundreds of species of mammals, insects, and monkeys. Welcome to the animal’s world!

If you love getting on adventures, then feel free to try a walking trail. You will also be able to enjoy the sunrise from a Tikal’s temple. The site holds 2 pyramids facing each other and it is possible to reach one of them by using wooden stairs built on one side of the pyramid.

We propose you walk around it in at least half a day, or days wandering around every inch of the site.

The Temple of the Grand Jaguar Temple I – Half a day

This beautiful temple is located in Tikal, in the Peten basin region of Northern Guatemala. It is situated at the heart of a world’s heritage site and is surmounted by a characteristic roof comb which is a distinctive Maya architecture. The temple is 154 feet high.

Grand Jaguar holds its name because a lintel depicts a king sitting upon a jaguar throne. This temple is considered as Tikal’s finest and most dominating monument with its nine tiers representing the nine levels of the underworld. It’s nice and tall since it rises 55 meters over the Great Plaza. If you are a fan of sculptures and history, then staying half a day is essential.

The Temple of the Masks Temple II – Half a day

It is located in Tikal, on the West side of the Great Plaza and the temple stands 125 feet tall. Feel free to expand your knowledge while having a memorable moment at the temple of the Masks.

This temple is regarded as the most thoroughly restored of the major temples of Tikal. The pyramid facade is decorated with grotesque masks which explains the origins of the temple’s name. It has a single wooden sculpted lintel that represents the portrait of a woman. It comprises ancient graffiti and interior walls are also composed of modern ones.

If you love discovering new things, expanding your knowledge, and appreciate beautiful sculptures, then spending half a day is critical.

11 Days Itenerary

Day 1

We advise you to get your getaway started by attractions located in Tikal. You can start to visit Tikal’s jungle which will take you half a day. Then, you can head over to the Grand Jaguar Temple at which you should also devote half a day. The driving distance from Tikal’s jungle to the Grand Jaguar Temple is 5 min.

Day 2

The next day, you can plan to visit the Temple of the Masks which will take you all morning. Once you have visited the essential places of Tikal, you can rent a car and drive to other attractions which are located a few hours away from Tikal.

Day 3

You can drive over to the Cultural Triangle Yaxha Nakum Naranjo National Park. You must visit it all in about 3 hours. Afterwards, you may visit the Parque Nacional Sierra del Lacandón which requires about 2 hours to walk it all around.


Day 4 to 11

If you ever have some time left over, then you can drive over to Parque National el Mirador. This visit takes a few days, we suggest you plan about a week.

Clemence Roney

Copywriter & Fashion lover