Guatemala's impressive Maya Biosphere Reserve. Photo © Al Argueta.

Guatemala’s Biosphere Reserves

Guatemala has more than 90 protected areas encompassing about 28 percent of the country’s total land area. Among the different types of protected areas are biosphere reserves, national parks, biotopes, natural monuments, wildlife refuges, and private nature reserves. Several of these are encompassed within larger areas, as is the case with the national parks and biotopes making up the larger Maya Biosphere Reserve.

Atop Tikal's Temple IV. Photo © Al Argueta.

Petén and the Maya Biosphere Reserve

Petén is without a doubt the cradle of Mayan civilization, as it lays claim to some of the oldest known Mayan sites along with the earliest evidence of the writing and royal dynastic rule characterizing the civilization that flourished here. The massive Maya Biosphere Reserve, established to protect the forests, ruins, and unexcavated sites, could keep you busy for weeks. However long your have for your visit, our expect author is here to help you effectively plan your time.

Moon Guatemala, 5th ed.

Moon Guatemala

This full-color guide includes vibrant photos and detailed maps to help with trip planning. Part-time Guatemala resident Al Argueta provides travelers with an insider’s view of Guatemala’s best, from idyllic surf spots to popular volcanoes. Argueta offers in-depth coverage of Lake Atitlan and La Antigua, as well as Guatemala City’s diverse selection of museums. With […]

Framework surrounds a well-preserved carved wall that is slowly being unearthed.

Getting to El Mirador and Seeing the Pyramids

Here’s how to make the journey to El Mirador, a Preclassic Maya city whose dominating feature is the presence of two large pyramid complexes, El Tigre and La Danta, running east to west and facing each other.

Colorful embroidered textile with two figures of kids holding hands amidst a floral pattern.

Kid-Friendly Activities and Attractions in Guatemala

Latin Americans are very family oriented and Guatemalans are no exception. There is plenty to see and do in Guatemala for families traveling with children of all ages. Here is a list of kid- and family-friendly attractions throughout the country.

View of colorful houses clustered on a verdant shore across a calmly rippling lake.

Guatemala’s Petén Department: Sights Near Flores and Santa Elena

There are a variety of attractions in and around Flores and Santa Elena that work well if you have a day or half a day while awaiting connecting flights or onward travel. ARCAS, Petencito Zoo, and Tayazal are a five-minute boat ride across the lake from Flores’s north shore, while the Parque Natural Ixpanpajul covers an area of nine square kilometers and is conveniently just off the highway toward Guatemala City.