El Perú

El Petén

This ruin, deep in the jungles of Laguna del Tigre, has several important Classic-period structures and stelae. Carvings here have led archaeologists to believe it may have been allied with Calakmul, Tikal's great rival to the north.

Though there are no excavated buildings here, a number of stelae, in various states of deterioration, occupy four plazas. Stela number 16 in plaza 3 (the original lies under a thatched roof next to a fiberglass replica) portrays Siyaj K'ak', aka Smoking Frog, a warrior from Teotihuacán who arrived here in 378 and apparently allied with El Perú in a campaign to overthrow Tikal.

A visit to this ruin offers fantastic birding opportunities as well, both in the jungle and on the river trip to get there. Either arrange for a visit via Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas or in the nearby community of Paso Caballos.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby El Petén attractions

1. Estación Biológica Las Guacamayas

3.66 MILES

A scientific research center within the Parque Nacional Laguna del Tigre, Scarlet Macaw Biological Station offers wildlife-watching/archaeology tours and…