Sleep out under blinking stars, deep in the jungle amongst ancient Mayan ruins, listening to Howler monkeys calling from the tree tops…
On an exclusive, offbeat experience in Guatemala, discover the ancient ruins of one of the most impressive and longest-inhabited cities of the Pre-Columbian Mayan World. Spend two nights camping out in luxury tents, exploring the extraordinary site of Uaxactún with special access by day and night.
Styled from African tented-safaris, our luxury tents at Uaxactún are raised off the ground on covered platforms, tall enough to stand up in, with comfy beds, soft linens, a bedside table, reading lamps and plenty of space for your belongings. Torch lanterns light up the entrances to each tent and line a pathway to an atmospheric al-fresco dining area, making it feel like stepping into a by-gone era, exploring the great unknown.
Arrive late afternoon before sunset, settle into your tent, then set off by foot on a remote jungle trail in search of nocturnal wildlife. In the peak of darkness, the forest beats with life and with only a flash-light, you’ll catch fleeting glimpses of owls, possums and monkeys as you venture boldly through thick, mysterious jungle.
Rise with the sun, tuning into the idiosyncratic sounds of the Petén rainforest. After a hearty Guatemalan breakfast, discover the ruins of Uaxactún with a private history guide, exploring at your own pace. Visiting these incredible, spiritual sights in peace, before the majority of visitors arrive, is a real privilege. Your guide will take you through the various structures within the city ruins, bringing the ancient civilisation to life, as you wander through partially restored temples that align perfectly with the sun on certain dates of the Mayan calendar.
Visit a local village where the community still upholds ancient traditions and crafts. Learn about the natural gum, allspice and xate (exported for floral arrangements) that they harvest in the jungle, as well as their traditional techniques for making tortillas, weaving furniture and making jewellery.
For lunch, a traditional Mayan dish is prepared with locally sourced ingredients, and you’ll get a real sense of how the Mayans would have lived in ancient times.
Spend an afternoon at leisure, snoozing in a hammock or exploring the sites at further length. At dusk, climb a lookout tower where you’ll be greeted by sunset drinks and the most incredible views across endless canopy, where the tallest temples rise above the treetops, catching the light beautifully. A delicious, torchlit dinner awaits you back in the jungle camp, before another night of forest dreaming in your cosy luxury tent.
There’s time for a final wander around Uaxactún in the morning, taking in its mystical splendour, before journeying 45 minutes through deep jungle into Tikal National Park. Here, some 3,000 ancient Mayan structures still stand, immersed in the rainforest. Entering the park through a forest trail that few visitors get to see, with tropical birds and monkeys swooping through the trees overhead, you’ll enjoy a private tour of Tikal, a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site (Star Wars fans may recognise the scenery from Return of the Jedi!).
Visit the sublime Great Plaza; the Temple of the Jaguar is its most striking monument at 44 metres high. These structures are truly awe-inspiring, from their size to their design, location and intricate carvings. Your expert local guide will paint a vivid picture of the complex at the height of the Mayan rule, giving an understanding of what every temple, chamber, tunnel, pyramid or court would have been used for. After perusing Tikal, gazing leisurely at its wondrous structures, indulge in a fresh picnic lunch in the shade.
This is an extraordinary jungle escape in the wild jungle of northern Guatemala; an intimate exploration of some of the most ancient sites in the Americas and a detailed discovery of Mayan archaeology, culture and life in the jungle. Jungle camping is an unforgettable experience and a privilege few get to enjoy.
N.B. Bug spray is essential!