July 17, 2016

Maya Adventures

Adventure travelers from la Danta Project on top of the largest pyramid in the world, la Danta at el Mirador. They went with no guide and no mules - just their backpacks - except for Rado, he rode his bike.La Danta’s Maya adventures are only available to adventure travelers staying with la Danta Project.

Maya adventure details are kindly shared once you’ve checked-in at la Danta Project and completed your orientation and tour.

We’ve no interest in answering questions from online ‘shoppers’ or silly competitors – that’s not permaculture. Our prices are fair and reasonable to the Maya. Too many in Petén crush the poor Maya down with lower and lower pricing. la Danta project has no interest in working that way. That sort of capitalistic nonsense does not apply when you’re supporting the Maya who are our best front-line defenders of the largest remaining tropical rainforest in Central America, its thousands of ancient Maya ruins and its many endangered animals. There’s nothing like Petén – birthplace of Maya civilization.

The Maya who lead these adventures deserve more than just $3US per hour, they deserve a living wage. If you feel the same, we look forward to working with you to design the perfect jungle adventure for your time in Petén.

Yes – we have complete outfitting services available. All you need to bring is proper clothing + footwear + personal schtuff.

Yes – we have DIY jungle adventures available too. These are only available to adventurers who are super-capable in the jungle/wilderness. Do Not tempt fate in the jungles of Petén. If you have what it takes to DIY your jungle adventure in Petén,  complete the Maya Jungle Survival Workshop and we’ll hook you up.

No matter what, always wear two-pairs of socks to avoid blisters. Please do not try and convince yourself or us that your $40 hi-tech hiking socks will not give you blisters and only put on one pair. That’s just stupid. We’ve seen stupid people get lots of blisters with that same kind of stupid thinking.

If you plan on bringing smaller children with you, consider an extra horse/mule for your small-one to ride on your jungle adventure in Petén.

Maya Lake Adventure

Monkeys of Maya Lake Petén Guatemala

Monkeys of Maya Lake Petén Guatemala

This is an overnight, or more, multi-day private adventure to the middle of the rainforest to swim in a lake dug by the ancient Maya of Petén. This lake is amazing – it was obviously dug by hand and makes for some great swimming. Just be mindful of the crocs that live at the lake. The Croc Rule: don’t mess with anything you can’t swallow, whole. These little guys don’t usually get much bigger than 3 or 4 feet – unless you’re height-challenged, there should be no issues. DO NOT attempt to play with or pet the crocs – even a little one can take your fingers off with one bite, and your fingers look like tasty food.

Just in case, we’ll always keep someone watching the Maya lake from the shore to spot some monster cayman croc we may have missed in the past. This Maya lake adventure will make for a great story / photos / video for when you get back to civilization and share your Guatemala stories with friends and family.

We’ll sleep in an old chiclero shack for the night and cook on a Maya wood stove. The stars are amazing in this part of the Maya rainforest. Easily add another adventure or two (for example the Maya Island Adventure or la Danta / el Mirador Maya Adventure) to your Maya Lake adventure and create an epic, unique Maya rainforest experience in Petén Guatemala.

One night in the jungle of Petén with an English-speaking guide/interpretor 900Q = Maya Lake
Two nights in the jungle of Petén with an English-speaking guide/interpretor 1800Q = Maya Lake + Side Trip
Three nights in the jungle of Petén with an English-speaking guide/interpretor 2100Q = Maya Lake + Maya Island

Learn more about Maya civilization.

Maya Island Adventure

This is a multi-day private adventure to an island once ruled by the ancient Maya of Petén. It’s a full-day hike or half-day MTB ride to the lake. We’ll camp on the beach with the local guard for the Maya ruins who’ll take us across the lake to the Maya island in a dugout canoe.

The island packed full of Maya ruins. Other than the guard for the ancient Maya ruins on the island, we’ve never seen another soul at Maya island.

We’ll spend the night in a chiclero shack on the edge of the lake or out on the Maya island in awesome rainforest hammocks – these are comfy hammocks – not the shoulder-squashing / can’t-sleep-on-anything-other-than-your-back hammocks you’re probably accustomed to seeing/using. Hennessey makes a great hammock 🙂

2 nights in the rainforest at an authentic chiclero camp – 1850Q per person

Easy to add your Maya Island adventure to the Maya Lake adventure (above) for 3 full nights in the largest intact, remaining rainforest in Central America – contact us for details.

Learn more about Maya society.

el Zotz Maya Adventure

This is a private adventure to Maya ruins of el Zotz in the middle of the jungle between the Maya villages of Dos Aguadas and Uaxactun. This adventure  can range from 1 to 3 nights in the ancient Maya jungle of Petén.

Thousands of bats emerge from the cliffs near the ancient Maya ruins of El Zotz each evening. Easily extend this hike / jungle bike ride to continue on to Uaxactun and then down to Tikal or skip Uaxactun and go straight to Tikal.

1250Q per person per night in the jungle of Petén.

One Night – el Zotz
Two Nights = el Zotz + el Pilar + Tikal
Four Nights = El Zotz + Uaxactun + Tikal

This Maya jungle experience is NOT available as DIY.

Should you decide to extend your el Zotz adventure, we’ll also be packing jungle mules to carry all our associated gear. You won’t need to carry anything except yourself and perhaps a bottle of water 🙂 More about the ancient Maya site of el Zotz.

el Mirador + la Danta Maya Adventure

Multi-day adventure that can range from 3 to 14 days in the wild Maya rainforest of Peten Guatemala. We include everything you need to explore la Danta, biggest pyramid in the world, and the el Mirador complex.

Yes, we can include an English-speaking translator on your Maya adventure to la Danta el Mirador.

Yes, you’ll need to bring a good pair of shoes and many pairs of socks. You’re going to walk for several days on your way to la Danta el Mirador.

Nope – you don’t have to carry anything other than a bottle of water and perhaps some snacks, if you like. Mules will carry all you gear, food, supplies and water to la Danta el Mirador.

Yes, the food will be plentiful and varied and it will all be prepared for you in the jungle on the way to la Danta el Mirador.

We have an exclusive el Mirador la Danta guidebook for you to review before you leave on your adventure to la Danta el Mirador. You’ll learn all about the plants, animals and history of la Danta el Mirador. Sorry this guidebook  is only available to la Danta Project participants going to la Danta el Mirador.

Danta is the local word for a Tapir. Imagine a large jungle cow (hundreds of pounds) with incredibly sharp teeth and a small elephant trunk. If you’re really really lucky, you might see a Danta while you’re on your la Danta el Mirador adventure.

5 or 6 nights in the rainforest is 800Q(DIY)-1800Q(Outfitted) per person paid direct to the Maya

More information on la Danta el Mirador.

Yaxha Maya Adventure

The Yaxha Maya adventure is a full-day that can easily be extended to a multi-day Maya adventure encompassing many other Maya sites. Yaxha is an impressive Maya site with incredible views. Yaxha reminds many of Motul, on the opposite side of Lake Peten Itza, on a bigger Maya scale.

The Maya Yaxha kingdom dominated an area of ~100 miles with an estimated population of 50,000 Maya. The Yaxha Maya ruins encompass ~500 structures on the shores of Lake Yaxha. The view from the top of the tallest pyramid looks over the entire blue-green of Lake Yaxha – Yaxha means blue-green in Maya.

A common choice is to include Tikal, Uaxactun and Yaxha all in the same adventure – staying an additional night at an awesome ecolodge with absolutely amazing sunset views and enjoy an excellent dinner on the edge of an ancient Maya lake.

Interesting to note that Yaxha was not even half the size of el Mirador / la Danta.

For your Maya adventure to Yaxha we highly recommend you also include a visit to the Maya ruins of Topoxté that occupy a small group of islands (Topoxte, Cante and Paxte) at the southwestern end of the lake Yaxha. If you have the budget + time, include Tikal + Uaxactun on the same Maya adventure – highly recommended. Better still, come during a full moon and add a temazcal / sweat lodge for a complete Maya immersion experience. More information about the ancient Maya site of Yaxha.

Uaxactun Maya Adventure

The Uaxactun Maya adventure is a full-day that can easily be extended to a mult-day Maya adventure that includeds many other Maya sites. The Maya rainforest is awesome!

Uaxactun’s original Maya name was Siaan K’aan, or Born in Heaven

If you can get to Guatemala during an equinox it will be an excellent time to visit Uaxactun. Every equinox the local Maya village, which sits inside the Tikal National Park, hosts a great Maya equinox celebration. We recommended this as a two-night excursion for the Maya equinox – it’s quite a Maya party 🙂

Uaxactun and Tikal were the major warring Maya cities of ancient days in this part of Peten Guatemala. The wars ended same as with most kingdoms of long ago, they had a marriage between the ruling royal families of Uaxactun (born in heaven) and Tikal and the Maya squabbling ended.

1 night in the rainforest – 350Q per person paid direct to the Maya

For a customized Uaxactun+Tikal Maya adventure contact us.

If you can’t get to Uaxactun for the Maya equinox party, no worries – it still makes for a great adventure with some excellent Maya art. Many say Uaxactun is the source of some of the best ancient Maya art in all of Guatemala.

More information on the ancient Maya city of Uaxactun.

El Remate + Jobompiche + San Pedro Maya Adventure

The San Pedro + Jobompiche + el Remate Maya adventure is a full-day exploring some of the best spots nestled in the rainforest between the quaint and ancient Maya villages scattered along the edge of Lake Peten Itza. Bring your stuff for swimming and a good appetite – excellent food is in your future.

In addition to a local fishery project by the governments of Taiwan and Guatemala, we’ll also be visiting a private jungle eco-sanctuary owned by a leader in Peten’s environmental community. Howler monkeys and huge trees, abounding. Great beaches for swimming in Lake Peten Itza.

How about some roasted iguana for lunch? That won’t be happening, iguanas are too groovy to eat. How about a salad of wild jungle fruit – fresh picked and organic. How about some excellent Blanco fresh from the lake. Every bit as good as the best trout you’ve ever tasted.

Do you know the story of the gold and jade horse that is supposed to lie at the bottom of Lake Peten Itza – great story.Excellent Maya and Conquistador stories on this adventure. Treasure hunters have dropped millions into looking for that horse – diving down hundreds of feet into the depths of lake Peten Itza – using exotic air mixed with helium. More information about the ancient Maya lake of Peten Itza.

San Andres + San Jose + Motul Maya Adventure

We’ll walk and/or bike and/or tuktuk the ancient Maya ruins of Motul and the two Maya villages of San Andres and San Jose. Motul was an ancient Maya trade center with specialties in the production of arms and Maya hootch. From the top of the tallest pyramid at Maya ruins of Motul we’ll easily see nearly all of Lake Peten Itza and the locations of many other ancient Maya villages. Surely the Maya who lived at Motul long ago kept tabs on their Maya neighbors from the top of the very same pyramid – ancient Maya cell tower?

There’s a sketchy little spot where you can squeeze inside an ancient Maya pyramid and take your photo – sort of creepy, bats.

When we’re done exploring Motul, we’ll stop for a snack at a Maya home and enjoy some wonderfully prepared food. She’s Maya and passionate about her meals. Lots of love.

We’ll walk, bike or tuktuk the beach between San Jose and San Andres and head back up the hill – lots of good stories and local insight. Once we get to the top of the hill in San Andres we’ll stop and eat some awesome burritos and ice cold refreshments. Here’s more information about the ancient Maya city of Motul.

Temazcal / Sweat Lodge Adventure

This a 4 to 6 hour Maya / Native American adventure. In the middle of an organic permaculture finquita perched on the hills of above San Jose, we’ll enter the Temazcal / Sweat lodge for a couple hours and 4 rounds of grandfathers (red hot rocks).

Women Only lodges are available and a Maya medicine women is available to lead your all-girl temazcal / sweat lodge. Yes, Men Only temazcal / sweat lodge are also available.

Sorry, women in their moon are not permitted to participate in the temazcal / sweat lodge adventure. This is simply tradition, not sexism, strong sisters.

You must bring an offering of tobacco, white sage, incense… something sacred to place on the altar for the temazcal / sweat lodge. We will hand these bits out to you before we leave for the temazcal / sweat lodge, or bring your own.

Eat as little as possible, fasting is the norm, and drink as much water as possible the day of your Temazcal / Sweat Lodge.

4 to 6 hours + 1300Q per person

Learn more about the Maya Temazcal here — learn more about the Native American Sweat Lodge here.

Maya MTB/Road Bike Adventures

The Maya mountain and road bike adventures are all custom designed for you as half-day, full-day or multi-day experiences. We have dozens of different bike routes here in Peten Guatemala.

Excellent road rides on perfect asphalt with nice wide shoulders – rainforest as far as the eye can see.

The MTB rides are more than groovy with awesome single/double track everywhere. No one uses it, except for the occasional Maya on a horsecart tending to their fields of beans and corn. Always easy to find some wild jungle fruit to eat along the trails. Yum!

No matter on whether we do mountain or road riding, there’ll be plenty of rainforest and wildlife. Some past spottings include: howler and spider monkeys, toucan, chacha / huraca / motmot birds, iguanas, jaguarundi, all sorts of snakes, coatamundi, possum, deer, raccoon and more.

Complete mechanical support and an experienced guide are available for your Maya mountain / road biking adventure. We also have ride/trails maps (here’s one) for those wild adventure cyclists who want to create their own self-guided cycling experience in Peten Guatemala.

Lake Peten Itza Maya Adventure

The Lake Peten Itza Maya adventure is a full-day tour. We’ll take a boat all over lake Peten Itza and stop at a few of our favorites private, secluded beaches. Explore a bit of jungle. Visit Maya friends who live around the lake. Want to fish – we’ll bring some extra Maya fishing tackle – grab some and catch a Blanco, if you like – the Blanco is excellent – yum!

We’ll embark from the beach in San Andres and nice walk from beach house in San Jose and board a typical Maya lancha which will be our transportation for the day. The water is crystal clear and we’ll see the giant Blanco fish that are native to this part of Peten – very tasty fish related to crappie in the United States – actually, Blanco is much better tasting than crappie. Hopefully we’ll spot a Mawii turtle or three during our day-long Maya adventure. If we do spot a Mawii turtle we’ll need to document the sighting and gather data – it’s a turtle we’re working towards repopulating – huge, beautiful and graceful animals.

We’ll stop at a Maya home or two along the edge of the lake Peten Itza for a Maya lunch and once again for a Maya dinner before heading back. This is a full-day Maya adventure There’ll be many opportunities for swimming, if you like. If you burn easily, be sure and bring a good sunhat and sunscreen. More information about lake Peten Itza.

Tikal Maya Adventure

Can’t visit Peten Guatemala and not see Tikal. We’re here to help with our Tikal Maya Adventure. Your Tikal Maya Adventure is easily arranged. Shuttles leave from the community market 4X daily.

Do you know about the Guatemalan school kids who stopped the Guatemala military helicopter from taking the Maya stella from Tikal? We’re happy to share that groovy little story on your Tikal Maya Adventure.

The archaeological excavation at Tikal is making it deteriorate faster. Now archeologist, such as Richard Hanson, leave the vast majority of the Maya ruins unmolested and protected by the natural rainforest growth.

Did you know la Danta pyramid at el Mirador is so big that it covers an area MUCH greater than the entire Central Complex at Tikal? Today, Tikal is more famous than la Danta / el Mirador. But back in the days of the ancient Maya it was el Mirador / la Danta that ruled – no doubt it about – easily has a Maya population ten times larger .

There is no reason to get up before the sun for a Tikal Sunrise Tour. Sleep ’til a reasonable hour and then head up to Tikal. Save some $s and relax before heading off to Tikal. Why? There’s always lots of animals at Tikal – there’s no more at sunrise that any other time of day, sunrise is seldom visible at Tikal – at sunrise everything is usually covered in fog. The Tikal Sunrise Tour was invented for one reason to get travelers to spend an extra night in Flores or at one of the hotels near Tikal.

On the other hand, if you’re into sunsets, the Tikal Sunset Tour can be amazing – but it’s going to cost lot$ more and you won’t get back until 9PM or so. Have never heard a negative thing from anyone who did the Tikal Sunset Tour when it wasn’t too overcast, cloudy or raining.

Traveler who recently went to Tikal shared a funny story – she climbed to the top of Templo 4, the tallest temple at Tikal. At the top of the Templo 4 was a sign indicating she was on top of the Tallest pyramid in all of Meso-America. Well, just like the Tikal Sunrise Tour, that’s a load of horse shit – la Danta Maya pyramid at el Mirador is easily twice as tall as any Maya pyramid at Tikal.

Flores + San Miguel / Tayazal Maya Adventure

There’s too much misinformation about the Maya heritage of the Flores + San Miguel / Tayazal area. We promise, everything that will come out of your guides’ mouth will be the absolute truth about Flores, San Miguel and Tayazal. This is a private adventure to Flores, San Miguel / Tayazal . We’ll visit Maya ruins, a sacred Maya ceremonial site still used the local Maya Itza of San Miguel / Tayazal. It all starts with a groovy boat ride across lake Peten itza. We’ll visita motmot cave and we’ll close the tour with a lunch at one of the best local, authentic Guatemalan restaurants in Peten – except for our little group, we guarantee there won’t be another traveler anywhere in sight – Locals Only Access.

We’ll also visit a Maya ceremonial site still used by the locals, descendants of the Maya who originally founded Nojpetén. We’ll visit the cave of a motmot – very cool bird – and an even better Maya legend. More information about Flores here.