Lodging at Tikal National Park is limited by law to three lodges and a campground. An increasing amount of competition from accommodations at nearby El Remate has spurred the Tikal hotels toward higher standards while keeping prices relatively reasonable. There are few places in the world where you can stay in a comfortable jungle lodge inside a national park just minutes away from a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Electricity at the park is sporadic, with accommodations and other facilities having to limit the hours during which this convenience is available. Power is usually turned on in the morning for 2–3 hours and then again in the evening shortly after sunset for another three hours. If you need to use a computer or need to recharge batteries or cell phones, you should plan accordingly.
If you absolutely need a fan to cool your room while you sleep overnight in the humid Petén jungle, you may want to stay outside the park, as ceiling fans go silent once the electricity turns off. It can get very hot here, even at night. None of the lodges have air-conditioning.
Coming from the ruins, the first place you’ll come across is the Jungle Lodge (tel. 2476-8775, www.junglelodge.guate.com, $40–80 d), offering decent bungalows with private hot-water bath, ceiling fan, and two double beds as well as a few very basic, less expensive rooms with shared bath. All are set amid a pleasant tropical garden atmosphere and there is a swimming pool. The restaurant here serves breakfast ($5), lunch, and dinner ($8–10). Be advised the lodge is closed every year during September.
As you head toward the old airstrip just past the museums, you’ll reach the friendly Jaguar Inn (tel. 7926-0002, www.jaguartikal.com), where you can choose from nine comfortable bungalows with small front patios with hammock ($60 d), a dormitory ($10 p/p), hammocks with mosquito netting ($5), or camping ($3.50). You can rent a tent for $7. The restaurant here is a safe bet, serving adequate portions of good food three meals a day. Dinner is about $8. There are laptops available for Internet surfing and checking email ($5/hour), but the electricity shuts off at 9 p.m.
Next door, Tikal Inn (tel. 7926-1917 or 7926-0065, hoteltikalinn [at] itelgua [dot] com, $60–100 d), gets consistent praise for its large, comfortable rooms centered around the swimming pool just behind the hotel’s restaurant. You can choose from standard rooms or pricier, more private bungalows; all have ceiling fan and private bath. The restaurant serves three meals a day.
Tikal’s campground is opposite the visitors center with a spacious grassy area for tents as well as palapa structures for stringing hammocks. There are showering stalls among the bathroom facilities. Hammocks and mosquito netting are available for rent and there are tiny, two-person basic cabanas for $6.50 p/p. It costs $4 p/p to camp here.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com