As you continue along the road toward Cobán , the next sizable town is Purulhá. Though the town itself is unremarkable, there are several important stops on the biological corridor along the road in the vicinity of town and farther east from the town itself.
This private nature reserve and restaurant (tel. 7953-9234 or 7953-9215) sits along Km. 164 of Highway CA-14. The specialties are a tasty chicken stew and traditional pastries. A small shop sells locally made handicrafts and there are nature trails for hiking amid several pleasant streams crisscrossing the property.
At Km. 166.5, Reserva Natural Privada Country Delight (tel. 5514-0955, countrydelight [at] hotmail [dot] com, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily) is a quaint family-run inn and café. The delicious homemade food includes sandwiches, breads, cookies, and cakes. There are also smoked meats for sale.
Rooms in the main house with tiled floor, cable TV, large, firm beds, tasteful decor, and private hot-water bath go for $45 d. Bungalows range from $30 for a unit accommodating two people to $100 for a large, six-bed cabin.
Camping in a covered area with cooking facilities, shower, bathroom, and a common area with Ping-Pong table, foosball table, and swimming pool is a great value at $7 per person. Bonfires and nighttime lightning bug shows between April and June are among the fun activities available.
The restaurant and lodge are on Country Delight’s own private reserve, but there are also other reserves adjacent to the property: Reserva Natural Privada Llano Largo and Reserva Privada Santa Rosa. Combined, they are roughly the same size as the Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera . The lodge can arrange visits to both.
A number of beautiful natural attractions in the vicinity of Purulhá have begun making their way onto travelers’ radar screens with the establishment of the biological corridor. A turnoff at Km. 166 heads east to Purulhá and then continues for 32 kilometers to Peña del Ángel, a dramatic limestone canyon surrounded by tropical moist forest and bisected by the Río Panimá.
To get to Peña del Ángel, contact the local comité de turismo (tel. 5317-6344), which operates a restaurant and some simple cabanas at the site. You can also get there by foot via an 11-kilometer trail starting just off the road at Km. 164. (Note that this is not the same Peña del Ángel mentioned under Albores .)
Another option is to arrange a visit via the Reserva Natural Privada San Rafael (tel. 5475-1236, ask for Beatriz Thomae), one hour away from Purulhá along a 27-kilometer stretch of road descending into lower elevations. It offers trips to local coffee and cardamom plantations in addition to inner tubing on the Río Panimá and hikes to Peña del Ángel along hanging bridges used by villagers to cross the river.
Lodging and food are also available here.
As you head toward Tactic at Km. 167.5 of Highway CA-14 you’ll reach the Chicoy Cave ($2.50), with a depth of 70 meters and some large stalagmites. Locals still come to this place to perform Mayan rituals dedicated to the earth, seeking blessings upon their harvest.