Guatemala Expedition: El Mirador Trek


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    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.

    Highlights

    • 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.

    Itinerary

    Day 1: Flores
    Hola! Welcome to Guatemala. Use the day to wander the town’s cobblestone streets, taking in its pastel-coloured buildings and shopping for local handicrafts. This evening, 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.

    Day 2: Flores
    This morning, join your group leader for a short orientation walk around town.  In the afternoon, you’ll have time to take up one of the optional activities on offer. Otherwise, take the time to walk around town at your own pace and relax, knowing that an exciting few days await. (B)

    Day 3: Carmelitas / El Tintal
    Arrive in Carmelitas by 9 am, then it’s time to start walking! 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. (B, L, D)

    Day 4: El Mirador
    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.  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. 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. (B, L, D)

    Day 5: El Mirador
    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. (B, L, D)

    Day 6: El Mirador
    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. (B, L, D)

    Day 7: Carmelitas / Flores
    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. (B, L)

    Day 8: Flores
    With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave at any time after breakfast (B)

    Inclusions

    • Meals: 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
    • Transport: Private vehicle, 4×4, local bus
    • Accommodation:  Hotel (3 nights), Camping (Shared facilities) (4 nights)

    TIN- QBXG 2020

    Images courtesy of Intrepid Group