So, you want to explore Guatemala’s subtropical rainforest, but without getting too wild? Ixpanpajul Nature Park offers a several lush and well-maintained ways into the jungle, perfect for a family outing.
The pretty little park preserves 450 hectares (1.7 square miles) of almost untouched rainforest, into which they’ve packed all sorts of activities. The most popular trek is a self-guided hike (a little over an hour) that takes you to several spectacular viewpoints. There are also suspended bridges through the forest canopy, horseback rides, night safaris, birding treks, ATV rentals, and even a Tarzán Zip Line Canopy Tour, if you’re feeling particularly brave.
Though this tiny corner of the jungle has been partially developed, it’s still wild: More than 200 species of trees, 150 birds, and 40 mammals, including three types of monkey, all call the park home. It’s a great half-day trip, but keep in mind that wildlife is most active in the morning and evening.
The park is located at KM 468 from Guatemala City to Flores, just ten kilometers (six miles) from Mundo Maya International Airport in Santa Elena–Petén. Cabs and buses make the run from the airport or town, or arrange pickup through the park itself.
There are campsites (and tent rental) and cabins with electricity and private bath onsite, but note that they are very popular with Guatemalans escaping the city. Make reservations for weekends and holidays.