El Petén

Located in northern Guatemala is the country´s largest, and least populated department, El Petén. Although remote, El Petén provides Guatemala with most of its resources. These include products from the large expanses of forests, oil, and more recently, the country´s greatest resource, tourism.

At the height of the Mayan empire, just over two thousand years ago, El Petén was possible the most densely populated place in the world. Due largely to deforestation and disease, after the collapse of the Mayans, El Petén has become one of the least populated areas. El Petén is becoming of the most visited areas in Guatemala, due to the many well preserved Mayan ruins found at the ancient empire´s former center.
The most accessible and excavated of these ruins is Tikal. There are many smaller ruins, including Yaxha, site of Survivor Guatemala. Countless ruins are buried deep in the jungle, waiting to be excavated.

One of the most charming cities, and the capital of El Petén, is Flores. Located on an island in Lago Petén Itza, this town of just over 10,000 provides an excellent base for exploration in the Petén region. Many budget accommodations and restaurants of high quality are available, as well as tour guides and trips. These range from day trips to Tikal to week-long treks into the jungle. This town is also a launching point to other villages across the lake, which can be reached either by bus, or by the more scenic lanchas, which board at the lakeshore.

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