Many people visit Guatemala’s Maya ruins. Few can say they’ve spent the night at one. Located in the department of El Petén, not far from Tikal, Uaxactún was one of the longest-occupied cities of the Maya people. Today, the area’s wild jungles are home to ancient temples, a small Maya community, and Viaventure’s one-of-a-kind and recently updated guest accommodations.
Just a short walk from the Uaxactún archaeological site, Viaventure runs a specially designed camping area that caters to travelers looking for an incredible jungle experience and comfortable place to stay. Surrounded by tropical foliage, eight covered platforms each have a private deck and hold a spacious tent with real beds, bedside tables, and lanterns; solar-powered electricity and carpeted floors are in the works. Little touches include locally made soap and handmade souvenirs for guests. New restrooms and showers will soon offer hot water (though in the steamy jungle, that’s one amenity that’s rarely missed).
Meals include dinners by candlelight or in a local’s home and show off the region’s typical fare. Expect plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and homemade corn tortillas. Tours of the area cover ancient Maya history, modern Maya culture, birdwatching, and wildlife-spotting. Visitors meet chicleros (harvesters of natural gum) and other members of the Uaxactún community (from time to time impromptu soccer matches with guests and locals get going). They tour Uaxactún, explore the nearby Tikal ruins, and learn about the surrounding ecosystem.
Camping at Uaxactún is best for couples or groups or families of up to 16; tents sleep two and may be booked individually. Sites are open year-round. To learn more about sleeping in the Guatemalan wilds, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For the local take on Uaxactún, featuring Viaventure tour guide Carlos Vivar, check out the video below.