Fodor's Expert Review El Mirador

El Mirador Ruins

El Mirador is still being explored and excavated, but elaborate plans are being laid to establish a huge park four times the size of Tikal. Dr. Richard D. Hansen of the University of Utah is director for the Mirador Basin Project, sponsored by the Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES). The Mirador Basin contains the El Mirador site itself, four other known Maya cities that probably were as large as Tikal (Nakbé, El Tintal, Xulnal, and Wakná), and many smaller but important sites—perhaps as many as 80 to 100 cities. The Mirador Basin is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life, including 200 species of birds, 40 kinds of animals (including several endangered ones, such as jaguars), 300 kinds of trees, and 2,000 different species of flora. It has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Currently, fewer than 2,500 visitors get to El Mirador annually, as it's a difficult trek requiring four to six days of hiking (round-trip).... READ MORE

El Mirador is still being explored and excavated, but elaborate plans are being laid to establish a huge park four times the size of Tikal. Dr. Richard D. Hansen of the University of Utah is director for the Mirador Basin Project, sponsored by the Foundation for Anthropological Research and Environmental Studies (FARES). The Mirador Basin contains the El Mirador site itself, four other known Maya cities that probably were as large as Tikal (Nakbé, El Tintal, Xulnal, and Wakná), and many smaller but important sites—perhaps as many as 80 to 100 cities. The Mirador Basin is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life, including 200 species of birds, 40 kinds of animals (including several endangered ones, such as jaguars), 300 kinds of trees, and 2,000 different species of flora. It has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Currently, fewer than 2,500 visitors get to El Mirador annually, as it's a difficult trek requiring four to six days of hiking (round-trip). The jumping-off point for the trek is Carmelita Village, about 50 miles (84 km) north of Flores. There are no hotels in the Mirador Basin and no roads except for dirt paths. Local tour companies such as Martsam Tours in Flores and elsewhere can arrange treks. For those with the budget, around US$675 can get you there by helicopter.

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