Less developed than the interior, the Petén region—known for its natural beauty and archaeological wealth—is a wild and rugged place with few roads. The town of Flores makes an excellent base for getting out and exploring historical sites and enjoying the compelling landscape. Here are some of our favorite outdoor activities.
A visit to Ixpanpajul Nature Park offers thrill seekers the opportunity to soar through the jungle canopy for a bird’s-eye view of the diverse ecosystem of the Petén forest. Six suspension bridges lead visitors through the canopy to a series of nine zipline platforms winding through the park’s tallest trees—an adrenaline-filled eco-adventure.
Bird-Watching and Wildlife Viewing
Guatemala’s UNESCO-listed Maya Biosphere Reserve protects one of the largest areas of tropical forest north of the Amazon. Here, nature lovers have the chance to spot some 400 species of birds, as well as animals like the Morelet’s crocodile or the ocellated turkey in their natural habitats. Lucky visitors might catch a glimpse at the famous resplendent quetzal.
Petén Itza Lake, among the largest lakes in Guatemala, provides a picturesque setting for a relaxing day on the water where you can explore the small towns and wildlife on its shores. The nearby Petencito Zoo gives a closer look at some of Guatemala’s most iconic animals, like jaguars, spider monkeys, and ocelots.
The Petén Basin is home to numerous archaeological sites where the Maya civilization once flourished. No trip to the region would be complete without exploring some of these fascinating ruins. The most famous lie within Tikal National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with some of the country’s largest and most important Maya pyramids and plazas. Other options for day tours include Yaxha, Aguateca, and Ceibal archaeological sites.