Crossing into Guatemala from Belize you’re most likely to end up in Flores, the tourist hub for the area. From there we did what every tourist does: visit Tikal with its impressive restored pyramids. Then we did what hardly any tourist does: go on a six days hike to visit El Mirador and other Mayan sites deeply hidden in the vast jungle of Northern Guatemala.
To hike to El Mirador and back you need to carry everything with you: tents, food, water. So the best and probably only way to get there is with a guide and an ‘arriero’ who’s responsible for the mules that carry all the gear. Together with a Mexican/Canadian couple, our local guide Umberto and Miguel as ‘arriero’ we started off on our little adventure from the last settlement Carmelita. Along the way we visited four Mayan sites, saw how looters had dug deep into unexcavated houses/pyramids to find valuable treasures, watched sunrises and sunsets on top of several pyramids – La Danta at El Mirador is supposed to be the largest in the Mayan world -, ate rice and spaghetti lovingly prepared by Umberto on the campsite fire, got up at 4.30 am to make the most of the cool hours in the morning, rode a four-wheel motorbike through the jungle instead of walking (thanks to Umberto’s great connections with the guards at the sites!), were scared of scorpions crawling around our tent at night, had a monkey almost pissing on us, and sweat like crazy while hiking in 35 to 40 degrees Celsius.