The Maya were organized and technologically advanced centuries before previously thought, their accomplishments preserved here in a city believed to be the capital of the region’s first true political city-state. The site is centered on three huge temple pyramid sites, El Tigre, Los Monos, and La Danta, the last of which is one of the largest pyramids in the world. Set atop natural summits, the temples offer outstanding views of ruined cities rising above the rainforest.xa0As there are no legal roads for regular vehicles, the only way to get to the park is to take a five-day hike; if necessary, mules may be hired. For an unparalleled view of the pyramids and some of the first roads ever built, fly over the remote biosphere in a helicopter.
Things to Know Before You Go
- El Mirador is perfect for adventure-seekers and outdoor lovers.
- The trip must be arranged with a guide and cook.
- Only experienced hikers in excellent physical condition make the trek.
- Bring a lightweight backpack and dress lightly, with sensible provisions, water, and insect-repellent.
- The site is not wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
El Mirador is located in the Petén region of Guatemala, about 39 miles (63 kilometers) north of the village of Carmelita. Trips can be arranged from Flores to Carmelita. Start the trip early as it is a five-day journey on foot or on mules. The site is largely unexcavated and not developed as of yet, so there are no roads. A faster but more expensive option is to travel via helicopter.
When to Get There
The archaeological site is open daily from morning until evening. The climate in Flores is pleasant throughout the year, though it’s best to avoid the rainy season (May through October). Come to the city in the first two weeks of January to experience the Dance of the Chotona festival, a quirky fiesta featuring firecrackers, religious processions, a parade featuring giant dolls made of paper maché, men in drag, and lots of dancing.
Mirador Basin National Monument
Established in 2003 by Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo, this protected reserve is a special archaeological zone due to the numerous large Maya ruins in the area, including from the earliest known Maya kingdom of El Mirador. By this designation, the tropical rainforests that surround the unexplored and unrestored archaeological sites are also protected, and for this reason, there are no plans to build roads.
- Things to do in Flores
- Things to do in The Cayes
- Things to do in Central Highlands
- Things to do in Western Highlands
- Things to do in San Ignacio
- Things to do in Hopkins
- Things to do in Belize City
- Things to do in Ambergris Caye
- Things to do in San Pedro Sula
- Things to do in Pacific Highlands
- Things to do in Riviera Maya & the Yucatan
- Things to do in Oaxaca
- Things to do in Guanacaste and Northwest
- Things to do in Central Valley
- Things to do in Central Pacific
- Maya Biosphere Reserve (Reserva de la Biosfera Maya)
- Tikal National Park (Parque Nacional Tikal)
- Lake Peten Itza (Lago Petén Itzá)
- Petencito Zoo
- Actún Can Caves
- Ixpanpajul Natural Park (Parque Natural Ixpanpajul)
- Petén Forest
- Estación Biológica las Guacamayas (EBG)
- Seibal (Ceibal)
- Aguateca Archaeological Site
- Pasión River (Rio La Pasión)