Exploring Mayan ruins in Guatemala? These boutique hotels and chic ecolodges will make sure you sleep like the king of the jungle. Book your stay now with Culture Trip.
All who come to this part of Central America aim for mesmerizing Tikal National Park, home to an ancient Mayan citadel, with its towering, steep-sided temples among a lush jungle setting. Stay right up close to the entrance or further afield in a combination of low-key, lakeside lodges, rustic dormitories or finer hotels with filmmaker connections.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
You’ll find this collection of minimalistic, wooden-ceilinged 1960s bungalows tucked just inside Tikal National Park, surrounded by dense jungle. Each bungalow sleeps up to five, but, if you’re happy to swing yourself to sleep in a hammock to the sound of night creatures making their rounds, they’ll accommodate a couple more. In the morning, you’re just a 10-minute walk from the Tikal Mayan Ruins. We’d recommend the hotel’s own archaeological and adventure tours if you’re interested in the local history.
This high-end eco-hideaway in a private nature reserve, an hour’s drive from Tikal, cocoons guests in luxurious bungalows with vaulted, beamed ceilings. And, if you’re into the outdoors, you’ll love the patio hot tubs surrounded by tropical foliage and wildlife. Walkways connect them to the main hotel, where the Shultún Restaurant serves up locally sourced dishes such as blanco fish, fresh from the nearby Quixel Lagoon, and healthy, energy-packed breakfasts consisting of eggs, ranchero sauce, refried beans, chorizo and plantain.
This beachfront, surf-style jungle lodge 3km (1.9mi) north of El Remate, hugging the shores of Lake Petén Itzá and situated just steps from the Maya Biosphere Reserve, is a paradise for nature lovers. Shaded hillside gardens are an oasis of peace if you’re bunking in one of the rustic dorms – hammocks are slung close to the lake as well as by the breezy open-air restaurant. Happy to spend a bit more? Book one of the slightly more comfortable private bungalows.
As you wander around this tropical wonderland, on the edge of the Petenchel and Monifa Lagoons, look out for the white-tailed deer and peccary pigs, which are bred on the grounds. Rooms are dressed in local wood and Guatemalan textiles and open out onto balconies with garden, forest and lagoon views. Make sure your stay overlaps with at least one Sunday so you don’t miss the exceptional BBQ that the hotel puts on!
They’re not over-promising with the name of this hotel. Covered in a blanket of lush rainforest in the archaeological park, it’s a Mayan-themed masterpiece. After a day exploring the Tikal pyramids, dive into the jungle-surrounded outdoor pool before slinking back to your fan-cooled suite housed in a pretty whitewashed cottage. Evenings are best spent with a fruity cocktail in hand, tuning in to the chatter of the monkeys and rainbow-billed toucans hopping about in the trees.
This simple but refined hotel was one of the first true ecolodges in Guatemala, built on the doorstep of the Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo Park, a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Tikal. Rooms are pared-back, but elegant, with poured concrete floors, and guano palm or sheet metal roofs supported by aged wooden beams. Softness comes from layers of white curtains, which cleverly diffuse the sunlight, and colorful textiles on the beds.
It’s not quite as fancy as you might imagine legendary director Francis Ford Coppola’s Guatemalan outpost near Tikal might be, but, hidden by rainforest on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá, the natural beauty here speaks for itself. The ten casitas overlooking the clear waters pamper guests in a subtle, ecofriendly way, with carved furniture, colored textiles and two lakeside suites for the ultimate view. After a peaceful night’s sleep, you’re set for exploring the Mayan ruins of Tikal, a 45-minute drive away.
This simply styled, jungle-clad spot in El Remate, 30km (18.6mi) from Tikal, makes the most of its assets, giving every rustic, thatched room its own little patio furnished with wooden chairs so you can enjoy the lush garden views in peace. Don’t expect much in the way of interior embellishments beyond what’s necessary: wooden-framed beds, mosquito nets on the windows and a small kitchenette with dining furniture is what you get. This is a place to let nature do the entertaining – particularly the very vocal howler monkeys that reside nearby.
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