Petexbatún Wildlife Refuge
The Petexbatún Wildlife Refuge protected area is set beside the placid waters of Petexbatún Lagoon and harbors the remains of several small Mayan cities along with some nice stretches of forest.
Wildlife is abundant and includes several species of fish, freshwater turtles, howler monkeys, crocodiles, and several kinds of birds, including egrets, kingfishers, and herons.
Accommodations and Food
All of the area’s accommodations are in the vicinity of the Petexbatún Lagoon.
Family-owned and operated by the very helpful and friendly Julián Mariona, Posada Caribe (tel. 5304-1745, www.posadacaribe.com, $60 d) is the first place you’ll come across as you navigate the river network leading from Sayaxché to Petexbatún Lagoon. Comfortable thatched-roof cabanas with private bath are set among tropical landscaping at the river’s edge.
There are packages for $45 per person including one night’s stay and three meals, but you must arrange your own transportation. Packages including transfers from Sayaxché start at $150 and include a guide and one night at the lodge with meals.
Whether or not you stay at the lodge, Don Julián can help you with planning and logistics in the Petexbatún area, which he knows quite well.
Farther toward the Petexbatún Lagoon, the next place you’ll come across is Petexbatún Lodge (tel. 7926-0501 or 5806-5860), where the rooms in stucco and wood cottages are slightly nicer and include ceiling fan, mosquito netting, and large private bathrooms with a semioutdoor shower. Rates are $44 d in cabins or $12 p/p in shared-bath dormitory. Breakfast in an attractive open-air dining room costs $5 and lunch/dinner are $12.
The Petexbatún area’s finest accommodations are at the gorgeous
Chiminos Island Lodge (tel. 2335-3506 or 5750-8628, www.chiminosisland.com), where you’ll find six comfortable thatched-roof bungalows with lovely views, firm beds, colorful Guatemalan blankets, and wood and tile accents in your private hot-water bathroom. The rooms are made from tropical hardwoods and have beautiful wooden decks overlooking Petexbatún Lagoon. The elegant open-air restaurant serves delicious set meals and is adjacent to a pleasant hammock area overlooking the fantastic lakeside setting.
Rates are $110 per person, including one night’s accommodations and three meals. Children under 12 are $55 each.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com