The Petexbatún Wildlife Refuge protects the site of Aguateca, situated on the banks of the Petexbatún Lagoon, as well as the wonderfully isolated peninsula of Punta de Chimino.
Aguateca sits at the southern edge of the lake on a high outcrop. The site is being excavated and restored after its rediscovery in 1957. A dramatic natural chasm splits the site in two and features exuberant vegetation. Two lookout points with wonderful lake views add to the site’s sublime atmosphere.
The two main groups of ruins being restored include the Palace Group and the Main Plaza, connected to one another by a causeway. You’ll find some wonderful replicas beside the original, fallen over stelae in the Main Plaza.
The rangers here will let you camp for free. It’s always a good idea to bring in some extra food as a token of your appreciation. They can also provide walking sticks for the potentially hazardous, slippery trails found throughout the site.
Farther north about four kilometers is Punta de Chimino, the peninsula that served as the last stand for the local Mayan population in its attempt to repel its northern invaders. A citadel complete with ramparts and trenches once crossed the peninsula’s narrow neck.You won’t see any of this in evidence today, but the vegetation and lakeside setting make this a very special place, as Spanish moss graces large trees in a jungle unlike any in Petén. Today, it is the site of the spectacular and highly recommended Chiminos Island Lodge.
Several guide companies offer trips to Aguateca and you can camp with some upon request.
4a Calle and 7a Avenida Zona 1 in Santa Elena
Martsam Tours and Travel
Calle 30 de Junio
Calle 15 de Septiembre
Chiminos Island Lodge
tel. 2335-3506 or 5750-8628
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com