Trek El Zotz to Tikal

3-day trek Guatemala

Live a fantastic experience through the Mayan Biosphere Nature Reserve and discover ancient Mayan cities once buried by the dense forest and jungle. Enjoy this 3-day trip and embark on a trek of 50 km through the tropical Guatemalan jungle. Let yourself be amazed by this amazing jungle and its impressive archaeological sites.

A local guide, with complete knowledge of the lay of the land, will accompany you all the way. You will be provided with camping equipment, food, and water during the trek that starts in Cruce Dos Aguadas community and ends with a fantastic sunset view from the top of the temples in Tikal.

Tikal National Park

Jungle Trek

Temple V, Tikal

View from Temple IV

Highlights

The trek El Zotz to Tikal is allowing local communities to guide hikers deep into the Guatemalan jungle through the Maya Biosphere Reserve to the splendid ruined city of Tikal, once a blooming capital at the center of the Mayan World.

Itinerary

Day 1. Trade routes

All over the jungles of Guatemala’s lowlands, there are areas where remnants of the ancient pre-colonial ways survive, in decaying temples of limestone and the passionately well-kept culture of Maya inhabitants. Not far from Flores Island is Cruce Dos Aguadas, a dusty community of tin-roofed houses. Here initiate the trade routes of the age-old Maya east through the heavy jungle to the bastion city of Tikal, using our on-site local guides from the neighboring villages.

A driver will pick you up from your hotel in Flores Island to take you to Cruce Dos Aguadas. Once there, the group will meet up with your local guide and start the jungle hike, which is about 25 km in distance. This jungle stretches in the center of the Maya Biosphere Reservoir, 7,100 square miles of preserved lush rainforests expanding ahead of the lowlands of Guatemala. Archaeologists believed that up to 10 million Maya populated this area. Today, it is home to hundreds of species of animals, from the elusive jaguar to the howler and spider monkeys who soon will come out in the trees.  

Itinerary
7:00 a.m. Transport Flores Island – Cruce Dos Aguadas
9:30 a.m. Trek El Zotz to Tikal begins
1:00 p.m. Box-Lunch on the way
2:00 p.m. Continue to El Zotz
4:00 p.m. Arrival at El Zotz Camp and time to explore the site
6:00 p.m. Sunset view from the highest hill-top
Note: You may also get to know the Zotz house, which means Bats house, is a refuge for thousands of bats and every afternoon provides an astonishing show
Overnight: Camping at El Zotz.

Day 2. Exploring El Zotz

Today you will have time to explore the archaeological site of El Zotz. You must not miss the view from the top of the Devil’s pyramid. From the top of this temple, it is possible to see the temples of Tikal over the canopy forest. You will camp in El Yesal for the night, which is part of the National Park Tikal.

El Zotz is almost fully covered by the jungle, the monumental stone constructions buried and strangled over centuries by the dragging movement of the jungle. The area was just found by archeologists in 1978, and while some constructions have been somewhat excavated, the majority survive as they were discovered: knotted with creepers and vines, hardly appreciable from the neighboring landscape.  

Itinerary
1:00 p.m. Leave el Zotz camp. Jungle trail 12 km approx. to the next camp
4:30 p.m. Approx. arrival time at el Yesal camping site
Overnight: Camping at El Yesal, inside Tikal National Park

Day 3. Emerging at Tikal

After breakfast, you will start this final day of hiking through the ancient primary forest to finally reach the impressive Mayan City of Tikal. 

In the Mayan Biosphere reservoir, approximately 50 miles from Cruce Dos Aguadas, the pathway reaches its end. Just like the Mayans before us, our trek finalizes in the Marvelous Mayan City of Tikal, the center of the Maya civilization for hundreds of years. You will emerge from the deep jungle to the surprise of open space. Forward is fine grass, once the Great Plaza, encompassed by temples, former residential buildings, and causeways. It is all dominated by the Temple of the Great Jaguar, a pyramid built with massive blocks of limestone surging up like a gigantic staircase 44 meters into the air. Other buildings draw the skyline, along with the grandest of them all, Temple IV. 

To understand Tikal, it is basic to know the importance of the city. This desolated plaza was once the heart of a booming capital, with a 100,000 population, a center for festivals, and sporting events. Tikal was once the most important city for the Mayans. 

Itinerary
7:00 a.m. Departure to Tikal, jungle trail of 14 kilometers approximately
10:30 a.m. Snacks on the way
1:00 p.m. Lunch will be done at a restaurant at Tikal National Park
2:00 p.m. Free time at Tikal
4:30 p.m. Return to your hotel in Flores

Pack horses are not allowed in the park, so travelers have to walk and carry their packs during the trail to Tikal. The Mayan Trek finalizes with a night of free time on the live island of Flores. At the end of the day, you will be transferred back to Flores Island for a well-deserved rest.

map, expenses & price

Trek El Zotz to Tikal

Expenses included:
-All private transportation.
-Camping and cooking equipment.
-Local guides.
-Freshly prepared picnic lunch, dinner & breakfast.
-A person in charge of the mules and a cook.
-Park entrance fees.
-Horses to transport equipment as far as El Yesal camp.

Per person starting at $500

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