Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala
At a Glance
Jungly hideaway located on the unspoiled shores of picturesque Lake Peten Itza
The most comfortable accommodation for visiting the incredible Mayan ruins of Tikal
Decorated with Mayan art and Guatemalan and Balinese furniture collected from movie director/owner Francis Ford Coppola's travels
A wide range of excursions can be organised such as fishing, lake trips, canopy tours, bird-watching, kayaking and mountain biking
Rustic chic style and laid back. Very in keeping with the natural surroundings
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
There’s no bad time for visiting Guatemala, though the rainy season makes unpaved roads more difficult from mid-May to mid-October, and into November and December in the north and east. Humidity, never low on the coasts or in El Petén, increases during the rainy season, too with May and June being the most hot and humid months. November to January is generally considered the best time to visit the Petén rainforest area as it is the cooler time of year and there are generally less mosquitoes. March to April is the dry-warm season when the weather is hot and dry. The higher temperature peaks are in April and also the lower precipitation averages. The height of the foreign tourist season is from Christmas to Easter. Things become acute around Christmas, New Year’s and Easter, when Guatemalans take holidays too so we do advise to plan months in advance.
Call us on 020 3993 9308 to start planning your holiday to La Lancha or take a look at our itineraries to Guatemala
Francis Ford Coppola's secluded jungle retreat, La Lancha, is a charming hideaway located on the unspoiled shores of Lake Peten Itza and the most comfortable base for visiting the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal that rise majestically out of the rainforest.
Perched on a hillside and enveloped by a forest of parakeets and howler monkeys, the lodge is set above the turquoise waters of Lago Peten Itza. From the main lodge, winding paths lead to either lake view or rainforest view casitas. The accommodations are brightly decorated, with natural design features inspired by native art furnishings.
The main lodge, with its thatched roof and open views of the lake and jungle canopy below, offers local Guatemalan cuisine with an Italian twist.
Guided excursions of Lago Peten Itza will take you to the village of El Remate, famous for its wooden artefacts, and the island town of Flores which is scattered with colonial buildings and native architecture. A visit to the ruins of Tikal, buried deep in tropical rainforest, is a must. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and is one of the most impressive of all the Mayan archaeological sites with over 3,000 structures to explore. It was, after all, the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya.
La Lancha features 10 stunning casitas with hammock decks and private bathrooms. Each casita is well equipped with modern amenities and boasts antique Balinese and Guatemalan furniture and large marble-tiled bathrooms.
Children are welcome at the hotel, and babysitting can be arranged upon request, but there are no specific facilities or interconnecting rooms.
La Lancha features a swimming pool, open-air bar and restaurant serving authentic Guatemalan cuisine, and gift shop selling painted masks, handmade ceramics and textiles.
Complimentary activities involve canoeing, hiking and birdwatching. Activities at an additional charge include fishing and kayaking at the lake, horse riding and walking trails through Cerro Cahui National Reserve.
Camilla Greenwood (Staff)
La Lancha is a beautiful rustic, jungle lodge, its authentic in style and really in and amongst the nature. Everything from the beautiful candles dotted everywhere in the evenings to the howler monkeys rustling in the canopy above you makes this rustic jungle lodge the perfect spot to stay while visiting the impressive Mayan ruins of Tikal. It is also the only Coppola resort with AC but if you're not a nature lover you may be better suited to the more polished Las Lagunas. Howevever in my opinion La Lancha has unbeatable charm and character, plus the service really is fantastic.
Francis Ford Coppola owns this away-from-it-all eco lodge, his third in Central America. This one is set in the jungle on the shores of Guatemala's beautiful Lake Peten Itza - 90 minutes drive from Tikal, the Mayan site of spectacular 200ft-high pyramids, and the reason why most people come to the area. The house is a simply constructed main lodge (Interiors courtesy of Mrs Coppala) with a bar at the top and a pool and sun terrace one level down. Ten casitas (bungalow-like rooms)are dotted over the hillside below, overlooking the lake and reached by a trail path. Its a daunting hike back up to the lodge, but the menu (seared prawns, black bean soup), wine list (from Coppalas own vineyard) and view from the dining room will spur you on. We swam in the lake from the private beach and paddled around in kayaks, watched from the chore by howling monkeys. There are no mod cons in sight, just pure nature.
Mark Beken (Staff)
The Tikal area is woefully short of good hotel options, and La Lancha is undoubtedly the current best. In fact, despite rather poor food, it is actually a charming place to stay with a great setting overlooking Lake Peten Itza, and conveniently placed for visiting the great Maya city, particularly if you go for one of the Lakeview Casitas. It is lovely to be able to sit out on your terrace with a pair of binoculars thoughtfully supplied by the hotel and see how many toucans and parrots you can see.
El Mirador Mayan Ruins by Helicopter
Soar over the jungles of Guatemala by helicopter, to reach the remote, northern corner of El Petén. Here, the Mayan ruins of El Mirador lay hidden amongst the dense forest, and can only be reached following a 5-day trek or 90-min helicopter flight.
Full day Yaxha and Topoxte
This full day tour will take you to explore the wonderful Mayan sites of Topoxte and Yaxha, accompanied by a private guide. As well as the pyramid temples of Yaxha and the island site of Topoxte, there is plenty of wildlife to observe.
Sunrise at Tikal
Enjoy an early morning excursion to the impressive temples of Tikal and soak in the sounds of the jungle as the sun rises over its towering structures. Climb temple 4 for stunning views and the chance to enjoy 360-degree views over this magical site.
Sunset at Yaxha
Discover the magical Mayan site of Yaxhá near Tikal and watch the sun set on the horizon. Relax and soak up the spectacular panoramic views of the jungle and the beautiful Yaxha and Sacnab lagoons.
Temples of Tikal
Experience one of the Maya world's most impressive and evocative temple complexes, Tikal, and feel like a true Indiana Jones. Tikal is arguably the greatest of all Mayan cities. Enjoy a fascinating private guided tour with your very own archaeology guide.
Family Fun in Guatemala & Belize
Antigua, Tikal, Forest Highlands & Placencia
from £3800 pp inc flights & transfers for 11 nights
- A perfect introduction to the highlights, natural and man-made, of the Maya world
- Great itinerary for families wanting a dash of adventure
- Enjoy the sheer variety on offer in Central America, from colourful market towns and Mayan jungle temples to Indiana Jones-style adventures and beach relaxation
Imagine Guatemala and Belize
Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Lake Peten, Cayo District & Placencia
from £3600 pp inc flights & transfers for 13 nights
- This adventure-packed itinerary will suit those wanting to discover more about the fascinating history of the ancient Maya civilisation and the more recent Spanish colonial influence that has influenced this region.
- Stay at unique and luxurious properties, full of boutique charm and well positioned to make the most of each destination along the way.
- Journey through pretty colonial towns and meet indigenous communities in remote villages, soak up spectacular lake views which reflect the softly puffing volcanoes on the horizon.
Ultimate Guatemala & Belize
Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Mountain Pine Ridge & Cayo Espanto
from £10500 pp inc flights & transfers for 14 nights
- An exhilarating honeymoon through Guatemala & Belize, combining culture with adventure and luxurious accommodation
- Immerse yourselves in the jungle, exploring Mayan ruins, amazing cave systems and nature trails
- Visit volcanic Lake Atitlan and discover the unique villages that dot the shores
Location & directions
Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala
Set in the rainforest high above the shores of Lake Petén Itzá. In Guatemala’s largest and most northern department, the Petén, La Lancha is located an hour away from the Belize border and only a 45-minute drive from the magnificent Maya ruins of Tikal and the Maya Biosphere Reserve.
How to get there
15-hour international flight to La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City. La Lancha is reached by an hours domestic flight to Flores and then a 40-minute car transfer.
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