Have you ever visited any of the ancient Mayan Cities?
Archive for the ‘Petén’ Category
Traveling on a Dime: Petén
Petén is Guatemala’s Northern-most province and it is full of wonders left behind by our Mayan ancestors, and rich with Nature’s splendor.
Tikal, The Place of the Voices, as known by the few left Itza speakers.
This is one of the greatest monuments Human Civilization has ever produce.
I would easily put this place as one of the 100 must see before you kick the bucket.
Those Mayan temples towering over the jungle canopy would leave you breathless!
What a great saga is recorded on each of these stones.
What!? I really hate when modern history uses the word “Discovery” in cases like this.
Apparently for History literature, indigenous people, don’t count, they aren’t, well, real people.
The indigenous people of the Peten always had knowledge of this ruins, in fact, they led many expeditions to show them to Western explorers. And of course, it is one of these explorers, Modesto Mendez, who is credited with the “discovery” of the ruins.
Eli is always a nice guy, I was guiding this handsome couple whom were visiting us all the way from Canada:
Always watch out for those unexpected rains or hailstones!
Tikal is one of the last easy access places where you can still find wild life. You’ll love the large bands of Coati. One of these bands, maybe up to 70 strong, cross in front of me, there were maybe 6-8 females, each of them with at least 6 young, plus the males and of course my camera is in my backpack.
Our cousins Howlers and Spiders are everywhere, keep and eye open for them.
The Island of Flores Petén
If there would be a Sin City in Guatemala, the City Island of Flores fits the bill.
The Island island is not big at all: you can walk its longest side in less than 15 minutes, but somehow, this small island has one of the most bars and restaurants per capita I’ve ever seen.
There is no drinking regulations, you can drink everywhere: the malecon, the bridge, the streets, or at a rooftop with minimal safety barriers.
You can even drink your beer next a group of police officers with all liberty.
The food quality in the island is great and you have many choices. And this is one of the last places in Guatemala where you can find exotic meats at a restaurant.
There are plenty of accommodations, from all price ranges. You can find hotels that go for $200 per night or those at Q25 per night ($3.5).
Eating at Las Mesitas.
Las Mesitas (small tables) are set on the side walk at the Malecon
Here you can find cheap snacks and local soft drinks. A great place for those night cravings after a day of touring the island. Get some “Tostadas” here, they are 3 for Q10 and they are very tasty.
I’m spending the night at this beautiful hotel, Posada Don Jose, in the City Island of Flores.
So peaceful and beautiful here, you would wish you didn’t have to leave.
I heard about a restaurant that serves exotic meats -Tepesquintle among others- l will try to find it and I will have a verdict for
you all tomorrow.
I found a small note on a gastronomic festival in Petén, Guatemala’s largest province and with the largest remaining forests.
I’ll sum it up for you
In the spring of 1525, Hernan Cortes (one of the Conquistadors) army en route to Honduras crossed the Petén region, where they were fed by the surrounding jungle; they ate Zapotes. In Tayazal, capitol city of the Itza they were invited by King Canek to a banquet where they ate palmito soup, coshan asado, empanadas de siquinche, tamales, bollitos de chaya, caldo de chayuco, tortillas de ramon mixed with majunches, deer meat, tepezquintle, armadillo, iguana, pizote, mapache, wild boar and different birds meat and local fish and of course frijoles (beans) to finish the meal with a local tobacco cigar.
In 1847, as a result of a war in the Yucatan Peninsula, there was a migration to the Petén lands from the Yucatan, and this came to influence Petén’s gastronomy: Stomach (cow’s) bouillon, gallina en col, gandinga, estofado, salpicon, escabeche de costilla de cerdo (pig’s rib), tepezcuintle en pibil (barbecue), atole de macal, biscotela, longaniza, etc.
This 7 December, in the towns of Flores, and San Francisco, Petén, there is a gastronomic festival called Las Mesitas, where you can find all kinds of these regional dishes and drinks.
From Guatemala’s news paper Prensa Libre.
The only thing I have to regret is not having known about this gastronomic festival last December I was in Petén.
For sure I will not miss this one. Who’s coming!?
I previously showed a gallery of the Naj Tunich cave system. Well, let me tell you the ride to the caves was nothing easy. It was one of the most demanding ones I’ve ever ridden.
The distance is not great, barely 20 miles each way. You ride through remnants of the jungles once covered this province. There is no shade 99.99% of the ride and temperatures did not go below 90f all day. The first mile or so the terrain is not so demanding, and there are a couple of small tiendas were you can stop to get some beverages. After that there is no single soul for about 10 miles until you arrive at Sabaneta, a small village where you can get some more refreshments. After this village, the real challenge begins!
Ten miles of steep uphills, riding under 90+ degrees heat with no shade and not one single time during the ride to the caves I saw a single vehicle! The last two miles are to proof ones determination!
Don’t you love cycling!?
Here is a sample of what you can get on the roads to Petén. By chance we stopped at this restaurant on the side of the road; we were so impressed by the breakfast, we had to come back to try more of their food offerings.
And for dinner: Pinchos mixtos, camaron, res and cerdo.
These at Villa Habibi, no more than four kilometers from downtown Poptùn, Petèn, on your right.
Oh, the cheff happenes to be from the state where I lived for 17 years; Massachusetts… what are the odds!?
Balneario (a swimmming place)Las Pozas is located 5 miles from Dolores, Petèn; on a very car friendly dirt road.
When you arrived at the Balneario, you are greeted by the owner, who is very friendly and courteous.
He got a very beautiful set up; there is beautiful soccer field to entertain guests, showers and well maintained WC, stone grills and some impressive, massive granite table tops. And if you travel during weekdays, you might have the entire place to yourself.
And if you are lucky enough; you might have arrived when earlier a neighbor hunted and killed a Tepesquintle, a very large rodent, and you get invited to have it for lunch.
The river is one of the wonders this beautiful land has to offer,turquoise waters, might feel to cold at first but after you’ve dove into the water you’ll love it.
These waters are great for snorkeling, of course I brought my equipment and dove down to explore the rock formations. You’ll be amzed if you dare doing the same. The water has formed sevaral pools, perfect for swimming and shapped some very impressive crevasses.
Naj Tunich, house of stones in a local mayan language, is a cave system 39 kilometers from Poptùn, Petèn.
The cave contains several Mayan burial sites, some of them with elaborate stone constructions. When archaeologist arrived at the cave, all burials sites had been looted. The cave is known to have extensive mayan writing on its walls. Most of the Mayan writing on the cave was damaged beyond restoration around 9 years ago, when someone entered the cave and vandalized the glyphs and drawings with some type of black paint.
Luckily, photographs of the writing and drawings were available, and around seven years ago, a small team of artists created some replicas, now on an exhibit on a separate cave a short 10 minutes walk from Naj Tunich.
There is no rest for Elí. After hiking two volcanoes this past weekend, Elí is en route to the jungles of Peten. I will keep posting as I go. Stay tuned.