© Courtesy of Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel and spa
By Raye Mocioiu
Imagine waking up under a canopy of jungle trees spanning as far as the eye can see. Here, you don’t need an alarm clock: the vibrant sounds of the jungle will be the soundtrack to your morning.
Located just minutes from Flores, a town in the northern region of Petén, Guatemala, Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel champions ecotourism and luxury, proving both can co-exist—a seemingly easy feat when surrounded by boundless natural beauty.
“Here, there’s nature everywhere you look,” explained one of the co-owners, whose grandfather, Edgar Castillo, the original owner and creator of the hotel, frequented the area throughout the 1950s onward, back when the jungle was largely untouched.
Castillo wanted to create a place where his family could come together and revel in the beauty of nature. While watching the moonrise from the pool one night, he felt so inspired by the gorgeous view that he realized he could not keep it a secret. He wanted to share his love for Petén and the jungle with the rest of the world.
Every part of the hotel is inspired by the nature that surrounds it. Every bungalow is made from wood; the colors work with nature and almost blend into the trees. The co-owners shared that the camouflage effect is best understood when gazing upon the hotel from the water. As you step onto the property, the canopy of trees makes you feel like you’re in a tunnel that opens onto incredible views. The sights continue as you enter the main building, where a window looks into a gorgeous lagoon—reminiscent of a painting.
Castillo made every effort to leave the jungle untouched while constructing the hotel—down to a tree standing in an area designated to be a pool. Instead of tearing down the tree, he built the pool around the tree, creating a unique area and cementing his love for the surrounding jungle.
“We take care of the environment because that’s what makes Las Lagunas special,” the owner said. “You can wake up to the sounds of the jungle and see the trees and howler monkeys right above your window.”
Castillo was also a lover of history, and late in his life, he worked to build a collection that spoke to the beauty and legacy of Petén and the ancient Maya civilization. It became one of the most beautiful Mayan museums in the country, housed at Las Lagunas.
Las Lagunas’s on-site restaurant, Shultun, is rife with international specialties and delicacies, from mouthwatering main courses to one-of-a-kind desserts, all of which pair perfectly with a unique cocktail from the restaurant’s long list of drinks.
Chef-turned-Manager Michael Muller shared that initially, it was challenging to form a menu, what with specialty gourmet markets being over 300 miles away, but that challenge turned into a strength. It was a chance to champion local produce and share a taste of the region. Over time, their menu diversified, calling upon international flavors but producing them with local ingredients and creating dishes that showcase the abundance in Guatemala. Pescado Blanco, for example, is a must-try signature dish at the hotel that is also an endemic fish, meaning it only occurs naturally in the lakes of Petén.
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With a rich history, breathtaking natural surroundings, and a dedication to eco-friendliness, Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Petén. The next time you’re looking for a getaway that combines luxury, culture, and delectable cuisine, look no further than Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in the heart of Guatemala’s jungle.