El Remate is a perfect, down to earth, town to visit before venturing deeper into Guatemala. I used El Remate as a stepping-stone before visiting Tikal and Flores. I came from San Ignacio in Belize and did the border crossing in the morning, before coming to El Remate. It is a small, quiet and beautiful town with friendly locals and good hiking trails.
In El Remate there are plenty of hotels depending on your budget. You can stay in town close to a variety of restaurant, shops and the ATM, or you can get close to nature like me and stay in the north-east side of Lake Petén and experience parrots, Howler monkeys, and local lake-side life.
Where to stay in El Remate
I stayed three night at Posada del Cerro, I highly recommend the place 😍.
The hotel is a fair walk (15-20 minutes) west of the center of El Remate, but you can have a tuk-tuk drive you there in 8 minutes (costs 10Q). It is right by the lakeside where you can literally walk right down to the public beach.
It is also a good choice if you want to hike the Cerro Biotope Cahui, which is a five-minute walk west of the hotel.
Prices are very attractable, it’s only 100Q for a bed in the guest house, or 200Q a night for a private room for one person. You can have a tab open and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the hotel.
My experience with the food was not the best since it lacked some seasoning, and I preferred to have some of my meals in town. In general, I was not impressed by the cuisine in Guatemala.
Make sure you arrive at the hotel in the afternoon, especially in the off-season, since staff might not be around to check you in!
I had Howler monkeys howling at 3 am, but they were hanging out at the premises the day following, and I got to take some photos.
The wifi works best in the restaurant, and in El Remate you might experience power shutdown or shortage, which means you should come prepared with cash from Flores or San Ignacio. There is only one ATM in town, and if the power is out it does not work!
I spent my days in El Remate eating decent food, hiking the nature trail with beautiful miradores (viewpoints) of the gorgeous Lake Petén! I got beautiful shots of the lake, and you can enjoy the sunset over the lake every day from a small boat dock, you’ll find several of them along the riverside.
Hiking in the Cerro Biotope Cahui reserve
If you are staying in El Remate, follow the road going west of town, north of the lake. The reserve opens at 7 am, and you can buy your ticket and get a map of the trails from the office. The entrance fee is 40Q.
I went hiking on my own, starting early morning when the reserve opens. The trail is well marked and the paths well maintained.
There are two loops you can choose from, the longest is 6.4 km and the shortest is 4.5 km. You can decide if you want to take the long or short loop at the first intersection, as the two loops are connected (see the photo above). This means that if you take the long loop you get to see all of the trails. There are a total of three viewpoints, from where you can see the lake and perhaps encounter some Howler monkeys in the trees above you!
There are several stops with benches along the way, including at the viewpoints, where you can enjoy your lunch.
My highlights include encounters with Spider monkeys, Howler monkeys, many bird species and beautiful views over the lake!
Do not be scared of the Howler monkeys. Their roars are quite loud and fierce, but as long as they are up in the canopy you are fine. Just be careful if you walk beneath them, they might drop fruit (or worse!) at you!
Where to next?
If you are excited to get deep into the jungle and explore ancient Maya Ruins, head for the amazing sunsets in Tikal in the North. After Tikal you could spent a few days in Flores and hangout in this tiny, lovely island town.
© All photos are my own and may not be used without permission.