Explore the depths of the ancient El Mirador rainforest.

Go in search of ancient Maya civilisation on an eight-day expedition of northern Guatemala. The Carmelita El Mirador jungle trek is an incredible active adventure that takes you through the lush thickets of the Mirador-Rio Azul National Park, past overgrown jungle and native bird and wildlife. You’ll discover ancient citadels – some of the oldest discovered in Mesoamerica. Camping beside the sites gives you direct and uninterrupted access to learn and gaze at the historical wonders. Challenge yourself and turn back time on this exciting historical Guatemalan trek.


Start
Flores, Guatemala
Finish
Flores, Guatemala
Destination
Guatemala
Style
Original
Theme
Expedition, Walking & Trekking
Code
QBXG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Begin in Flores – a charming river town perched on an island, where the locals are laidback and the lifestyle is even more relaxed.

  • Challenge yourself to a trekking and camping experience deep in the Guatemalan jungle, where you can stray off the usual tourist route and have the comfort of knowing that all meals are included.

  • El Mirador is one of the oldest ever discovered civilisations in Mesoamerica. Spend time on a guided tour to learn about the network of cities and explore the depths of the park at your own pace.

  • Discover the unique wildlife in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, including more than 250 species of bird, 56 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 16 species of fish.

  • Stop off by a local community canteen on your way back in Carmelita. You’ll be served up traditional Guatemalan hospitality, which is always friendly.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves either a partial or full camping experience, giving you access to more remote destinations at close proximity, and the joy of camping under the night skies. This is a participatory trip – a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride, but you are part of a team! Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates and leaders a hand, and everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!

  • As this camping trip is quite remote, you will be using basic shared facilities at the camp sites, and with no toilets along the way, being comfortable with nature is advised. We like to think thing like this put the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.

  • As you’re heading to El Mirador, this trip involves a lot of walking – around 6 hours per day. Please ensure you bring sturdy hiking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of the trip, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness.

  • It is also important that you have some decent trekking gear to bring with you. Good shoes, a day backpack and a 25-litre bag are essential. Other trekking gear such as quick dry clothes are also highly recommended.

Itinerary

Hola! Welcome to Guatemala. Your tour will begin with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you will meet your group leader and fellow travellers. Before then, nothing is planned however if you arrive early, spend some time exploring the beautiful river island town of Flores. This tranquil island had a long history before it was colonised by the Spanish in 1697, most significantly as the capital of the Itza people after the fall of Chichen Itza. Use the day to wander the town's cobblestone streets, taking in its pastel-coloured buildings and shopping for local handicrafts. After your important meeting, head down to the lakefront, which starts to hum with street food vendors when the sun goes down, making it a good place to grab a bite and watch the world go by.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning, join your group leader for a short orientation walk around town. They will point out a couple of stores in Flores that you may want to visit before your leave for your trek to pick up last-minute supplies, In the afternoon, you’ll have time to take up one of the optional activities on offer. Perhaps you’d like to take a boat tour on Lake Peten Itza or explore the El Castillo Fort in town, or maybe you’d like to head out and discover Tikal National Park and archaeological site – an ancient Maya citadel surrounded by thickets of jungle. Otherwise, take the time to walk around town at your own pace and relax, knowing that an exciting few days await.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Flores - Leader-led orientation walk
Optional Activities
  • Flores - Lake Peten Itza boat tour - GTQ30
  • Flores - El Castillo Fort - GTQ25
  • Tikal National Park - Archaeological site (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport) - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive in Carmelitas by 9 am, then it’s time to start walking! The next three days, you’ll explore the ancient Maya Biosphere Reserve. The Carmelita-El Mirador circuit is located at the northern part of this reserve, and crosses into the Mirador-Rio Azul National Park – considered one of the most important heritage reserves in the world. It is home to over 200 Maya cities with most partially or fully covered in dense rainforest. Today, you’ll be trekking to El Tintal – a Maya city containing more than 850 buildings including the Acropolis, a Ball Game, large palaces and a vast built moat around the city that guaranteed a water supply to the city all year round, and also providing a defence mechanism by limiting access to the city centre. Lunch will be provided along the way, and once set up camp at El Tintal, relax into the night with an included dinner.
Accommodation
  • Camping (Shared facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Rise early (around 6 am) for another full day of hiking. On your way to the upper depths of the reserve, enjoy a boxed lunch. In the mid-afternoon, visit the archaeological site of La Muerta, considered a satellite city of the main El Mirador citadel. This Maya city was inhabited during the early to late Classic period. After about one more hour, you will reach the El Mirador Archaeological Site – one of the most monumental sites of Guatemala and one of the oldest sites in Mesoamerica. El Mirador became capital of the region and was one of the places where Maya civilization originated. You’ll be able to appreciate the sunset at one of the main sites of El Mirador: El Tigre pyramid. Afterwards, set up camp, and enjoy an included dinner.
Accommodation
  • Camping (Shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • La Muerta - Archaeological site
  • El Mirador - Sunset on El Tigre Pyramid
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
If sunset captured your heart last night, why not wake up nice and early this morning and experience sunrise in this lush part of the world too? Breakfast is around 7 am, and at 8 am, take part in a tour of El Mirador archaeological site. You’ll learn about the incredible timeline of history that this ancient city has, and will be able to explore the three large sectors of El Mirador, connected by a network of roads. After enjoying lunch at camp, continue to trek around the huge site and have time to take in all of its glory. After sunset, relax with your group leader and fellow travellers over dinner.
Accommodation
  • Camping (Shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • El Mirador - Archaeological Site
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
The day has come to venture back through the jungle on your way to Carmelita. Keep your eye out for new scenery, and wildlife that passes you by, possibly including pumas, deers, jaguars, tapirs, ocelots and armadillos. With over 250 species of bird calling this reserve home, be sure to keep your eyes up as well as around! Enjoy some lunch en route and arrive back at El Tintal camp mid-afternoon for a guided tour and a relaxing night at camp.
Accommodation
  • Camping (Shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • El Tintal - Archaeological site
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, head on back to Carmelita, where you’ll arrive late morning. You’ll have some lunch at the local community canteen – one of the larger places in town. Take a ride back to Flores and enjoy a free afternoon, picking up where you left off. With the comforts of a hotel tonight, be sure to freshen up and get a group together for some dinner in town.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Yaxha - Archaeological Site Sunset Tour (Entrance fee, Guide & Transport) - GTQ125
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave at any time. If you would like to spend more time in Flores, we don’t blame you! There is so much to do and see around Flores, and in the greater region of Guatemala. We’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, 4x4, local bus

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nights), Camping (Shared facilities) (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Flores - Leader-led orientation walk
  • La Muerta - Archaeological site
  • El Mirador - Sunset on El Tigre Pyramid
  • El Mirador - Archaeological Site
  • El Tintal - Archaeological site

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. There are no activities planned for the final day so you may depart at any time.
2. To have a private room on this trip, a single supplement is bookable (subject to availability) with exception of Days 3-6 (El Mirador Trek) where you would be in shared accommodation.

Essential trip information

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