Guatemala Three Ways: Part 3 — Tikal and Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel

Gazing in wonder upon the Mayan ruins of Tikal from atop one of its pyramids.
Gazing in wonder upon the Mayan ruins of Tikal from atop one of its pyramids.

Guatemala is a beautiful country, of many faces. From the colonial town of Antigua to the shores of Lake Atitlan, I then explored an entirely different side of the country: the Peten region in the north, home to jungle rainforests and the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal.

Situated amongst 300 acres of a protected forest and lagoon landscape, Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel is built in the middle of jungle bliss. The property consists of 19 individual bungalows, each with their own private deck and jacuzzi.  From Las Lagunas guests can encounter wild animals, take moderate-intermediate hikes through historic Mayan Ruins,go on sunset boat tours, and end their days unwinding with Mayan-inspired massages at the hotel’s brand new spa.

Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Guatemala
Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Guatemala

An eco hideaway tucked into a private nature reserve, Las Lagunas guests enjoy a unique combination of pampering and adventure from their own freestanding personal bungalows. A feeling of complete privacy in the midst of the jungle, with top-notch amenities and service at your fingertips, is what characterizes Las Lagunas. Walkways connect the individual suites with the main building, surrounded by the water of the lagoon and lush tropical foliage. The peaceful setting and onsite facilities, combined with the location, allows guests to choose as much adventure or relaxation as they want.

Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Guatemala
Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Guatemala
And those ruins. The massive UNESCO World Heritage complex of Tikal allows you to channel your inner Indiana Jones. This ancient Mayan citadel in the rainforests of northern Guatemala dates as far back as the 1st century A.D., Tikal flourished between 200 and 850 A.D. but was later abandoned. Its iconic ruins of temples and palaces include the giant, ceremonial Lost World (Mundo Perdido) Pyramid and the Temple of the Grand Jaguar. At 70 meters, Temple IV is the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas.
The ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala
The ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala
It’s easy to understand what is so special about this place, when you read the words of Las Lagunas owner Edgar Castillo Sinibaldi, about how he fell in love with the area:
“I have always been in love with Peten, ever since I came for the first time back in 1950 when I was only 23 years old, it was love at first sight. Back then, Peten was an extensive jungle of hundreds of square kilometers, from the beginning of Sarstun River in the southeast border with Belize, to the northeast border with Mexico. The forest was so thick, full of fine wood trees that the sun barely penetrated the grounds. The trees were so big, full of exotic birds and a great variety of local animals, surrounded by great rivers, most of them navigable and in which you could observe all sorts of fish, crocodiles and snakes, a true paradise.”
The roads, if you could call them that, were only paths where some animals went through and most of the trips were done through the rivers with canoes. You could spot and observe before sunrise an immense variety of birds that filled the jungle with their wonderful sounds. It was incredibly beautiful to watch the musters of endemic ocelated turkeys with their colorful feathers reflecting the sun rays.  You could barely spot a house every once in a while and you were greeted with great joy and offered food and beverages from the region.
“Some years ago, with the curiosity that has always characterized me, I came upon this land and all the memories of what made me fall in love with Peten since the first time I saw it came immediately back to me. I was captivated by the lush jungle, beautiful lagoons, savanna and ancient oak forests that were so unique and dazzling. Since its beauty was so overwhelming my main desire was to protect it and share it with all the nature lovers that would appreciate its incredible value and beauty, just like me.”
Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Guatemala
Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Guatemala

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