El Zotz - Tikal 3 days
Along the 50 km of trails you will enjoy both the culture and nature in the same way it was experienced when explorers discovered this sleeping jungle cities. In Mayan, Zotz means “bats”. This is a different way to discover Tikal.
El Zotz was discovered in 1978, its structures and architecture has many similarities with Tikal, belonging to the dynasty Pa 'Chan. Stela 1 of Bejucal (7 km northeast), refers to a ruler who is identified with the glyph of El Zotz and this chronologically related to Siyaj K'ak '(Smoking Frog), a character that the year 378 AD, directed from Teotihuacan the change of power of Tikal. The trek finish back of Temple IV of Tikal, previously passing through a small place called Chiquin Tikal. The landscape is composed of mountains and low flood inhabited howler monkeys and over 300 species of birds, deer, tapirs and jaguars still live in this valley.
- The refuge of bats, following the steps of Siyaj K’ak’
- Bat wall in San Miguel La Palotada - El Zotz Biotope.
- El Zotz, El Palmar, Chiquin Tikal.
- Getting to Tikal, through the Mayan Jungle.
Starting at Flores:
We will meet you at the airport Mundo Maya or any hotel at Flores, El Remate or Tikal.
Private transfer to Cruce Dos Aguadas village 1.5hrs dirt road.
Time to departure: 7:00am (If you are already at Flores).
Itinerary day by day
Day 1– Flores – Cruce Dos Aguadas – El Zotz
Departure at 7:00 am from Flores by 4WD pick-up trucks or mini-bus for larger groups to the Community of Cruce Dos Aguadas 1.5hrs. Meet up with your local guide; all gear will be packed on mules for the trip and off we go! To El Zotz 25km.09:30 am – Trek departure.
01:00 pm – Box-Lunch on the way.
02:00 pm – Continue to El Zotz.
04:00 pm – Arrival El Zotz Camp. Time to explore the site.
06:00 pm – Sunset view from the highest hill-top and then you may get to know the Zotz house, a refuge for thousands of the bats that every afternoon provide and astonishing show.
Overnight – Camping at El Zotz.
Day 2, El Zotz – El Yesal
Jungle morning wake up call. Today we explore the site El Zotz discovered in 1978, the epigraphic text indicate that during the VII century, El Zotz had been integrated to the powerful Kan Kingdom, keeping relations with Calakmul and El Peru-Waka, becoming one of the closest enemies’ stronghold to attack Tikal.
The actual site El Zotz where only few structures have been excavated, the most important is the hill of Devil (El Cerro del Diablo) is formed by 21 structures and the main complex is known as the palace. When you climbing the Devil's Pyramid you can see over the canopy and spot the summit of the temples of Tikal. Then visit the temple of the night sun, decorated by at least 14 figure heads that show different versions of the sun deity.
1:00 pm – Leave el Zotz camp. Jungle trail 12 km approx. to the next camp.
04:30 pm - Approx. Arrival time. At el Yesal camp.
Overnight – Camping at El Yesal, inside Tikal National Park.
Day 3 El Yesal - TikalBreakfast in the camp. Guests break camp and head for the final leg of our journey toward Tikal National Park, 4.5hrs. Approx. through rolling terrain covered by tall a thousand years old primary forest..
Note: Pack horses are not allowed in the park, so passengers have to walk and carry their own packs during trail to Tikal.
07:00 am – Departure to Tikal, jungle trail 14km approx. 10:30 pm – Snacks on the way. 13:00 pm – Lunch will be done at a restaurant at Tikal National Park. 14:00 pm – Free time at Tikal 16:30 pm – Return to Flores, or add one night at Tikal. End of expedition!
What’s includedTransportation: Private transfer to 62 km –Cruce Dos Aguadas village (trek starting point) and shared transfer to Flores.
Meals: 7 Full meals for the entire trek (2 Breakfast, 3 Lunch 2 Dinner) + snacks (we will deliver first day)
Refill of purified water each day.
Mules to carry (camping equipment: client tents, backpack, stove, cutlery, plates, food and fresh vegetables, etc. only Yesal camp).
Guide: Community guide (Spanish speak)
1 Jungle cook,
Muleteers for every 6 mules.
Camping: camping gear, comfortable sleeping mattress, (Pillows by request)
2 people per tent clean, or single.
Water for washing every day.
Happy hour with tea or coffee every afternoon on camp. Biodegradable soap and hand cleansing gel. Emergency First-aid kit. (guide) Lunch at Tikal.
What’s not includedTips for guide, cook, muleteers and driver.
Flight Ticket to Flores.
Accommodation in Flores or Tikal.
Travel Insurance. (Check that your insurance covers you for trekking and consider joining a local emergency.
Upgrade your trail to El Zotz - Tikal
1 night at Tikal: add extra night at Tikal, relaxing time. “Our recommendation”.
Tikal Sunrise tour: Early in the morning 4:00am leave to temple IV, there until see the sunrise in the canopy of forest.
English guide in the trek US$300 extra charge.
Flight from Guate City and Belize: We are wholesalers of the flights to Tikal, you can book with us, the best price guaranteed.
Booking hotels: Please check our accommodations section and you can choose the hotel that you like
El Zotz – Tikal Trail FAQMany travelers interested on trekking to El Zotz - Tikal have questions about the experience and what to need bring. We’ve answered a few of the more common ones here.
Who operated El Zotz - Tikal?The expedition is operated by Turismo Aventura (transportation and meals) and the people Maya Q’eqchí of El Cruce Dos Aguadas (community guides, mules, cooks, muleteers, equipment of camp) located 62 Km north of Flores.
What are the challenge of this trekking and camping?It is a Sub-tropical humid forest, where the whole activity take place. It is 660 feet (200 mts) above sea level on average. Since this is a marine origin land we have no mountains to climb but slopes that you may find challenging. But is recommended to hikers a good physical condition, prepared to cope with long trails and rugged terrain. The Mirador basin is a protected area located in the middle of the Maya Biosphere and it is not accessible by car or any means of transportation (road-less). There is no electricity or water or convenient toilet infrastructure along the trail and/or in the campsites. There is no cellular network neither. Toilet facilities on campsites are basic, some trekkers just prefer nature. Unfortunately, it is completely out of our hands.
Daily walking between 5-6 hrs. Is a challenging 3-day from Cruce Dos Aguadas village through maya jungle that tests the limits of mind, body, and spirit. While it is physically demanding, approx. 50km (33 mi) total distance. Hike remains within the reach of most reasonably fit travellers.
What is the best time of the year to make the Trek?Petén is quite hot most of the year, we can consider that the best season is from December to May. The hottest season is from March to May and June to Nov. is the rainy season.
We recommend doing it from Nov. to May. The trail to El Zotz - Tikal is open all days in the year but in rainy season the routes can get muddy and swampy.
What to do with my luggage during the Trek?You can ask your hotel to guard luggage for free during the Trek. But we can also gladly do it; just bring your luggage to our Agency the same day you start your Trek.
What to Pack on the trek to El Zotz - Tikal?Keep in mind that all your personal belongings will have to be carried by yourself for at least 14 km. Therefore we recommend you to pack as light as possible.
All you will be required to carry is a daypack containing items you will need during the trek (camera, sunscreen, t-shirt, bugs-spray, personal hygienic items, personal first-AID kit etc.).
1 Backpack (water-proof), where you can carry all your personal items.
1 Daypack (water-proof) that you can carry yourself.
Footwear July, August, September, October, November: Rainy season. The foot-wear for this season is got to be water-proof, rubber-boots are recommended to bring along.
December, January, February (best time): This time of the year is fairly easy so hiking shoes are good enough.
March, April, May and June: This is the dry season so take in consideration that you will put with temperatures between: 90-109 Fahrenheit / 30-38 Celsius.
Feel free to bring your sandals as well to be used at the camp-sites, although it is important to use the ones with toe-protection.
What to wear:July, August, September, and October: It is our rainy season therefore all your clothes may get soaked. We recommend you to put two or three sets of clothes in water-proof-bags so you can have dried ones at any time. Rain gear and towels.
November, December, January, and February: This are transitional months, we get affected by cool fronts, and therefore we recommend to bring sweaters and warm-clothes. We recommend you to put two or three sets of clothes in water-proof-bags so you can have dried ones at any time. Rain gear and towels.
March, April, and May: This is the hottest and most humid time of the year, and therefore light-clothes. As we tend to have occasional showers it is recommended to bring rain-gear.
Important: All the above information needs to be taken as guide-line, but since weather is nearly impossible to predict take all the advice possible. Check weather fore-cast.
And don’t forget to bring:
Water container always with you, flashlight and batteries, broad-brim or peaked cap, sunblock, insect repellent, toiletries.
You also have to bring a copy of your passport with you on the trek, is preferable to leave the original I a safe deposit box or luggage (at the hotel).
How much should I tip to cooks, muleteers and guides?A recommendation for tipping:
From $3USD to $5USD per day per person.
All tips should be delivered individually.
Is purified water available on the trek?Yes, we will deliver purified water to the trek. We recommend that travelers bring their own refillable bottles to limit plastic waste.
Along the way we will come across small reservoirs (bodies of water).Where we wash our equipment. Also good for showers.
What type of food will we get on El Zotz-Tikal?Our cooks prepare excellent high-energy meals appropriate for a trek of this nature. The menu usually includes pasta, rice, chicken, fresh fruit and vegetables and a variety of oatmeal, eggs and other breakfast foods. Vegetarian alternatives are available upon request at the time of booking.
Please let us know if you want vegetarian meals when you book your trek or if you have a special restriction.
No red meat (chicken & fish ok)
No fish (red meat and chicken ok)
Lactose-free (mild reactions only)
Gluten free (mild reactions only)
We deliver a detailed menu and the list of products that you wear for the trip. (Vegetables, eggs, fruit, milk, coffee, tea, sports drinks, etc.) This is very important to ensure that the quality and quantity of food during the trip. The cook or the guide cannot say no food or water, etc. because you know exactly what we deliver in their hands.
What are the requirements to trek El Zotz - Tikal?There is no government restriction on the age limit for El Zotz- Tikal.
However as a responsible trekking company Turismo Aventura does not accept reservations for children under the age of 9 years old and adults over 67 years old.
All children under 18 years old must also be accompanied by an adult. We require that all of our trekkers over 60 years old hire the service of an extra muleteer with horse and bring a letter from your doctor confirming that you are fit to participate in the trek.
Bookings must be made as far in advance as possible. To be able to ensure a spot on the trek to El Zotz - Tikal we recommend that you purchase your trip at least 3 or 2 months in advance in low season (between May – June and September - October) and at least 4 or 3 months in advance in high season (Nov. to April).
WeatherThe time with less rain and suggested best times to visit is from November to April. The rainy season is from June to October, rainfall is sporadic a couple of hours a day, and our trips are operated normally, keeping in mind occasional showers. In the Petén region the climate is generally hot throughout the year. December and January are the coolest months, ideal for travel time with blue skies and sunny days.
SafetyFirst of all we are located in Guatemala as country, most of the negative issues occur in Guatemala City. We are situated in the Northern most part of the country, El Petén. El Petén as region is the largest territory but the least populated one. The area where El Zotz Tikal Trek takes two protected areas are a biotope and Tikal National Park.
Why Turismo Aventura
Over 10 Years' ExperienceOur proven track record allows travellers to book with confidence, safe in the knowledge they are travelling with an experienced tour operator. Recommended in Lonely Planet and hostel trails. We are a serious and honest company that will not lie to sell a service.
Local ExpertsEvery trek and tours are managed by our local office base, located in Flores, Petén. We are partners with the tourism committee of Cruce Dos Aguadas and Reino Kan brand.
Our local expertise makes us one of you best choices in the region. Our knowledge makes us find the right services for your safety and comfort, such as the right transportation, accommodation and flights or even a nice restaurant that will suit your preference and budget.
Our local commitment to our local staff consists in making sure that everyone gets paid accordingly to their role in the expedition as well as they get their assistance and training. All support staff and cooks work under the region’s best employment conditions and are fairly compensated for their efforts.
Exclusive departuresOffer two options to make the trek.
1. Private expedition from 2 people (you put the date)
2. Scheduled Departures
The best for everythingOn-trip meals are prepared from fresh, locally sourced ingredients and we suggest the menu. High-quality tents and camping gear are set up and maintained by our support staff, freeing you up to get the most out of your experience. We add cushions in the tents for better comfort. Slipping bag are not necessary but feel free to bring your own.