1. How to get there: This community destination is located in the municipality of San Andrés, 85 km from Flores in the Petén department. To get to Flores from Guatemala City, requires a 10-hour journey by bus or 40 minutes by plane; there are daily flights from Guatemala City. Once in Flores, reaching the community takes approximately 3 hours and a half by dirt road.
2. Ecosystem: Both, community and archaeological site are superbly situated in the tropical rainforest of Petén and Mirador National Park in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, one of the best preserved tropical forest in Mesoamerica. Carmelita community is the gateway to this site.
3. Tourist attractions: El Mirador Archaeological site has at least 200 structures distributed into eight groups. Danta Complex, the largest in volume and size of the area, since more than 75 m high and its base is as wide as 3 football fields. El Mirador was a major ceremonial center during the pre-classic Maya civilization. Other places of tourist attraction on the route between Carmelita and El Mirador are Tintal, Flores and Nakbe. The beauty of the tropical forest complements the attractions of the area; in it you can appreciate the sustainably way in which local communities extracted products such as gum, pepper and xate palm.
4. Tourist activities: Hiking is done on foot or horseback, up to 5-days through the jungle to visit the archaeological site of El Mirador. You walk along the paths that were traditionally used by tappers and xateros; route that allows you to observe a great variety of flora and fauna. After two days of travel you reach the site of El Mirador. After a day of exploring the site in the two days route going back is through natural beauty, discovering other archaeological sites. For these long walks you need a very good physical condition.
5. Tourist services: Accommodation in camps, food, mules, horseback riding and guidance during the excursions. Carmelita’s Community Tourism Council provides guaranteed quality tourist services; is advised to be careful with travel agencies in Flores and other places that offer low cost and low quality tours.
6. Suggested tour package: We offer a 5-day package which includes Carmelita community path, the archaeological site, Spanish tour guides, food, lodging in a camp, pack mules and horses for riding.
7. What to bring: Clothing should be adapted to a warm humid climate including comfortable hiking boots. For your protection bring hat or cap, sunglasses, water bottle, sunscreen and insect repellent.
8. Our organization: Since 2001, Carmelita community became part of several ecotourism projects such as the one called “Puerta al Mundo Maya" in order to sustainably manage natural resources of the Maya Biosphere Reserve and improve quality of life of its members. To follow up this initiative in 2003, arose the project “Community Development Q'eqchi' and Sustainable Tourism" funded by USAID and coordinated by Counterpart International. The NGO assists local communities in organization, management and in improving services and infrastructure to become more competitive agricultural and tourism business. Finally in 2005, as the culmination of these efforts, it was set up the Carmelita Community Council of Tourism, which coordinates the various providers of tourist services in the community.
For reservations, sales and travel information, contact Consejo de Turismo Comunitario de Carmelita:
- Phone: (502) 7861-1807 and (502) 7861-1809
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.puertamundomaya.com
- Contact: Jose Moreno and Patricia Pinelo.
- Address: Comunidad Carmelita, San Andrés, Petén, Guatemala.