El Remate is a small, relaxed little village on the east side of Lago Petén Itza. Some travelers looking for peace and quiet opt to stay here rather than Flores as a base for exploring the lake and the region. It's also the closest jumping off point to Tikal.
El Remate is located on the main road halfway between Flores and Tikal, all buses servicing this route must pass through the village. Local collective minibuses run from Santa Elena hourly or sometimes more frequently throughout the day (Q20 per person). Tourist shuttles pass through during morning hours en route to Tikal and return in the afternoon hours (Q30 per person O/W), you can flag them down on the main road. A taxi or private transportation via comfortable, direct minibus from the Santa Elena/Flores airport will run approximately US$25 or Q200.
The crossroad to the Belize border is located 3km from El Remate, if traveling from the Belize border you may get dropped off here and can walk the distance or take other transport to the village. Some tourist buses traveling to/from Belize drop off or pick up in El Remate. Be sure to confirm with the driver and/or bus company or agency you purchase your ticket with.
Central El Remate is small and walkable. The village stretches approximately 2km along the eastern shore of Lake Petén Itzá. The center is considered close to the junction of the Flores-Tikal road and the north lakeshore road. If you're staying a ways along the north road on the lake, you may want to find a bicycle to rent. Microbuses mosey along the north shore road somewhat randomly, and you may be able to hop on to one of those, but don't count on it. Some hotels have their own buses and will take guests where they need to go. Otherwise, expect to do a lot of walking or choose to stay in the center of the village.
- Woodcarving shops.. El Remate is well known for their skilled woodcarvers, who carve anything from animals and jewelry boxes to intricate Maya figures out of precious jungle hardwoods. A few small shops can be found scattered near the center of the village, some in which the carvers can be seen in action. Several hotels sell a variety of carvings in their shops as well.
- A gorgeous sunset and night sky.. Its location on the eastern shore of Lake Petén Itzá makes El Remate a superb place to view the sunset over the lake. For those who enjoy stargazing, the rural night sky in this area is remarkable.
- Swimming.. The clear and clean waters of Lake Petén Itzá allow for a refreshing swim. The average water temperature is a pleasant 25C or 77F. The area around El Remate is especially attractive for swimming, much cleaner and quieter than Flores, and several public docks can be found throughout the village. Perhaps one of the best docks is located in front of the Biotopo Cerro Cahui.
- Hiking at Biotopo Cerro Cahui. The Biotopo Cerro Cahui is a reserve located 2km from the center of El Remate on the lakeshore road. It is a nice hiking opportunity, especially if you're looking for an introduction to the jungle. Although you will not see an abundance of wildlife as you do in Tikal, it can be a good opportunity for birding and perhaps monkey sightings. The shorter trail is around 4.5km and the longer trail is 6km, the latter which has a lookout point with outstanding views of Lake Petén Itzá and the neighboring lagoon of Salpetén. Open from 7am to 4pm, entrance fee Q40 for foreigners.
- Horseback Riding. A great way to see the village and its surroundings is via a horseback ride. Several hotels in the village can arrange tours for around $20-40 for up to 3 hours.
Several local food shacks are scattered along the main road. Most lodges have restaurants, and often include breakfast and even dinner in the price of accommodation.
- Las Orquideas, on the lakeshore road (about 1km past La Casa de Don David). Top-quality, home-style Italian food served in a quiet palapa-hut. Homemade pasta and pizza. Open 1pm - 9pm, closed Monday.
Outside of a quiet beer at your lodge, don't expect much nightlife in or near El Remate.
- Sak Luk Lodge, (Look for the ranch with a giant maya mask on the main road), ☎ +502 50483982, . This budget eco-hostel has the very best view in town! It's located on top of a hill that dominates lake Petén-Itza and cerro Cahui, a crocodile-shaped mountain. It has an interestingly unique rustic architecture and a very relaxed and communal atmosphere, with travelers from all around the world. The restaurant serves yummy food and tasty smoothies. The place is owned and run by very friendly Guatemalan sculptor and maya enthusiast (His stories about the Popol Vuh, the maya writings about the creation of men, are really worth listening to).
- La Casa de Don David, (at the Y junction of the main and lakeshore roads, in the center of El Remate), ☎ +502 5306-2190, +502 5949 2164, . This family run establishment is a great value. At $46-56 double per night including breakfast or dinner, the rooms are clean and comfortable, with a/c, hot water and private bath. The property has beautifully landscaped gardens, an observation deck with a superb view of the lake and a restaurant overlooking the gardens and lake. The very friendly and efficient staff can help with all kinds of activities and transportation. Amenities for hotel guests are free bottled water and free WiFi.
- La Casa de Doña Tonita, 1.5 km from central El Remate, on the road around Lake Petén Itzá. A peaceful and inexpensive family operated hostel with its own dock on the lake and a restaurant. Double rooms go for $3/person, camping is Q15/person, a dorm bed costs Q30.
- El Gringo Perdido, 3 km from El Remate, on the road around Lake Petén Itzá, ☎ +502 5334-2305. This chill lodge is a nice place to relax along the lake. Accommodation is in a few various cabins, and in a small hotel block. One cabin in particular is close to the lake and is the most open to the elements. 2 docks make for decent swimming, and there's a couple of floating platforms to swim out to and sunbathe. Breakfast and dinner are included in the price. US$40/person.
- Hotel Camino Real Tikal, 5 km from the road to Tikal (leave the main road at El Remate), ☎ +502 7926-0207. A luxury hotel in beautiful natural surroundings. It has a restaurant, but with an unimaginative menu. The Biotopo Cerro Cahuí is close by and worth a visit. Expensive.
- Hotel y Restaurante Las Gardenias, (at the Y junction of the main and lakeshore roads, in the center of El Remate), ☎ +502 5773 6196, +502 5936 6984, . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. This place is a great value. At $27 double per night, the rooms are clean and comfortable, with a/c, hot water and private bath. The property is located on main road to Tikal National Park so its easy to catch a bus, has a small garden, and a restaurant that serves good foom while you appreciate an view of lake Petén Itzá. The staff is very friendly and do not hesitate to help with all kinds of activities, also they arrange transportation to the main points, sucha as Belize city, Flores, Tikal, Yaxhá, among others. Amenities for hotel guests are free refill water and free WiFi. from $18.00.
- San Damiano (San Damiano Guest House), Caserío San Pedro (15 km from the road to Tikal via El Remate), ☎ +502 4050-4909, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. A quiet guest house further away from El Remate with two basic rooms sharing a bathroom and one luxury room with AC and private bath. Perfect to relax by the lake for a few days after a jungle adventure. $20-80. (17.011518,-89.848353)
There are a couple of internet cafés near the main junction. Several hotels and restaurants offer WiFi for guests or restaurant patrons. Keep in mind it is a rural area and connection can be unstable or slow.
- Tikal – likely one of the reasons you're here in the first place, these spectacular Mayan ruins are just a 30 minute drive away. Inquire at your hotel about tours, or simply ask them to have a microbus pick you up around 5:30am, which will take you there for around Q50/$7 roundtrip, returning about 2pm.
- Yaxhá – is the second most visited archaeological site in the area after Tikal, although much smaller and less crowded. Located on the road to Belize, around 45 minutes from El Remate. The site's tallest temple is a wonderful place to view the sunset over the nearby lagoon.
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