Visiting El Mirador in 2012

In spite of all the tension and insecurity involving travel to El Mirador, here are some options for those who still want to give it a try. Presently there are only three travel agencies in Flores who organize El Mirador tours directly (that is they are not resellers of existing offers) and who operate with the approval of the Cooperativa Carmelita (meaning their clients will not be turned back before the ruins by machete-waving people). These are:

Mayan Lands Travel Agency
T.: (+502) 5340 2506 and (+502) 5821 5384
Email: landsmayan@hotmail.com

Reino K'an Mirador Travel Agency
Address: Calle 30 de Junio, Flores (across from Hotel Petén and 5B ATM)
T.: (+502) 5818 3273 and (+502) 5761 9883.
Email: racsosalas@hotmail.com

Mayan Princess Travel Agency
Address: Calle Centro America
T.: (+502) 7867 5045
Email: bbbetoremate@hotmail.com

The (+502) prefix is the international code for Guatemala should you be calling from overseas, and no, none of the above agencies have web pages.

The Mayan Princess received very negative reviews by some of it’s clients, something we could not verify.

If you choose to go to Carmelita directly and try your luck with the locals (something we still recommend), here are your options:

Cooperativa Carmelita: the official cooperative controlling all tourism in the area. President: Antonio Centeno Garcia.
T.:  (+502) 5857 7310, 7861 2639, 7861 2640 and 7861 2641
Email: tono.centeno@gmail.com

ASTUNAC: the alternative cooperative, 100% Carmelitan. President: Patricia Pinelo. (Please note that their phone is switched on only for a few hours in the morning and the afternoon, so please try at different times per day to reach them). (Rumor has it that they have been banned from offering tours to anyone. 02-01-2013)
T.: (+502) 7783 3811, 7783 3812 and 7783 3813

Umberto: an independent guide with cooperative permission to lead tours, very much recommended by one of our readers. (He is not a Cooperativa Carmelita - approved guide and reports from our readers say he cannot lead tours either. See newer posts. 02-01-2013)
T.: (+502) 5382-1337, 51522707 and 51975365.

Final advice: there is probably no living person on Earth who understands exactly the situation in Carmelita and the Mirador Basin. Rules, agreements, permits and persons change on a daily basis. It basically comes down to two options:

  1. If you don’t have the time, do not believe in supporting local communities, don’t care much about prices and like to book your trip months ahead, contact one of the agencies in Flores (listed above).
  2. If you have some extra days to organize your trip, believe in responsible travel, don’t mind a pinch of adventure and can speak Spanish, then go to Carmelita, talk to the cooperatives listed above and the locals in town, choose someone you feel you can trust, negotiate and go for it! Just remember, after the trip please give the amount you negotiated to your helpers: the guide, the muleteers and the cooks! These people often receive minimal pay even when booked through the cooperatives. The only way to ensure that those who work hard get paid fair is to give them back at least the amount you saved by not going through a travel agency in Flores.

Carmelita - Gateway to the largest Maya Center of the Known World

We support the community of Carmelita. If you want to see El Mirador, go to Carmelita and speak with the people of Carmelita about how to get to El Mirador.

There are many options to work directly with the community to secure treks, outfitting services and jungle adventures throughout the El Mirador Basin.