El Zotz - Tikal
Operated by the Maya-Qe'qchí Community of El Cruce Dos Aguadas, 62 Km. North of Flores, This trail passes through the natural reserve known as El Zotz Biotope, known for its pristine forest and bat caves, treks through the jungle and comes out into finishing at the backdoor of Tikal National Park! Wildlife, archaeology and jungle exploration come together in this magical experience.
Land transfer to Cruce Dos Aguadas for breakfast while a local assistant will prepare the pack horses, food and equipment. If requested ahead of time, you can also hire riding horses. The 5-hour trail to El Zotz is quite a windy road passing throug some slashed lots before the protected area. . Along the way to El Zotz we will stop for a box lunch.
Upon arrival to the site, camp is set up near the rangers' station. Right at dusk time, we walk to the base of the bat cliff (about 500 meters from the camp) and set up to watch the hundreds of thousands of bats that leave their cave dwellings in the cliff for a night of foraging in the forest. Bat falcons can also be seen, diving at a high speed into the streams of bats as they hunt for their prey.
Bats are one of the most important elements in the reproduction of the rainforest. In one single night, a fruit bat can disperse the seeds of a tree along many square kilometers; nectar-eating bats also help the pollination of many other plant species.
Bats make for an incredible and exciting experience, fully charged with the vitality of nature. Of course, if you don't like bats, you might want to wait in the camp.
Later in the evening, dinner at camp - including fresh, hot tortillas - prepared by your staff over a wood fire at the rangers' station. Friendly conversation with the members of the expedition and the always helpful staff of the station get you ready for a night in the jungle.
After breakfast, exploration and visit of the nearby archaeological site of El Zotz, now undergoing excavation and research work by the government and international institutions surveying its plazas and jungle-covered mounds. Climbing of the tallest mound, the Devil's Pyramid provides an overhead jungle view of the summit of the temples of Tikal, 23 Km. to the East.
Afternoon, trek to El Yesal, a small jungle camp located deep in the forest, about halfway between El Zotz and Tikal; it takes about 4 hours hikking , we make a stop on the trail for lunch. After camp is set, we climb the hill just above the camp, for a view of the endless forest and the temples of Tikal in on the horizon.
El Yesal camp is composed of thatched roofs huts to hang hammocks and mosquito nets, and a fire place.
After dinner, we set up for the night in this remote camp and listen to the sounds of the jungle. Sometimes you can hear jaguars howling in the distance and the always present howler monkeys.
After breakfast, we break camp and head for Tikal National Park, through rolling terrain covered by tall primary forest. Pack horses are not allowed beyond this point in the Park, so passengers have to carry their own packs during this segment. At some point along the trail, we’ll make a stop for a lunch break.
After about a three hour walk, we arrive at the outskirts of Tikal, having passed dozens of jungle covered mounds.
Approximately four hours later, we'll arrive at Temple IV on the West corner of the archaeological grounds
If you wish to spend an extra night in Tikal, arrangements can be made through our office for reservations at a local hotel in the park and a minibus back to Flores the next day.