The lovely Laguna Macanché lies seven kilometers east of Ixlú, where there is a small settlement by the same name. A northbound, signed turnoff leads another two kilometers to El Retiro Lakeside Sanctuary and Eco-Lodge (tel. 5932-0644, www.retiro-guatemala.com , $40–60 d), a private nature preserve set on the spectacularly wild north shore of the turquoise lagoon.
Accommodations are in comfortable thatched-roof bungalows with private hot-water bath and porch or in tents on raised wooden platforms. You can also camp here in your own tent. There are a good restaurant and a dock for swimming as well as a serpentarium, featuring 20 species of snakes found in Guatemala; all are housed in secure glass tanks.
The lodge offers guided hikes on jungle trails to remote, jungle-lined lagoons and cenotes (limestone sinkholes) or nighttime crocodile scouting starting at $30 per person.