After almost 3 weeks in Guatemala exploring by bus, tuk tuk and our own two feet, we were looking for a luxurious retreat to end our trip. In my search I happened upon Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel, located just outside of Flores Guatemala on a small lagoon in the middle of the jungle.
Las Lagunas has everything you want in a nature retreat – gorgeous surroundings, wild animals, spectacular food and exceptional service. It is the type of hotel you will continue to dream about returning to for years afterward. You might even make a trip to Guatemala *just* to visit this luxurious nature retreat.
Read on for our review and why we think it should be a must visit on your Guatemala itinerary.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Where is Flores Guatemala?
The vast northern part of Guatemala, the district of Peten, occupies a large area of the country, but has only a small proportion of the population. As the heartland of the Mayan civilization this area of Guatemala is a hotspot for tourists. Rich in wildlife, rainforest, swamps and savannahs, Peten department is an extraordinary destination for plant and animal lovers.
The lakeside community of Flores Guatemala is the main stopping point for most visitors looking to explore the country’s most famous Mayan ruins at Tikal National Park. Flores, or rather Santa Elena is where most visitors will arrive, either to the small airport or by bus from other parts of the country.
While this small town is a great place to stay and explore the surrounding areas, we highly recommend getting a bit out of town to truly experience the abundance of nature present in this northern area of Guatemala. Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel is our recommendation of where to go.
Luxurious Nature Hotel in Flores Guatemala
Prime Location near Flores & Tikal
The location of the Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel is one of its many perks. It is located on a small lagoon in the jungle away from the city sounds of Guatemala providing a sense of peace and tranquility.
This entire area of Guatemala used to be an amazing expanse of biodiverse jungle area, but as industry and people have moved in through the years, more and more of the area has been destroyed. Enter, Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel. The owner of this hotel first fell in love with this area when he was in his 20s. Seeing how much it was changing with no real legislation to preserve the area, he spent many years working to acquire this land in the hopes to preserve the rusticness of the jungle and create a space much like safari reserves in Africa.
After spending a few days at the Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel, I would say that the owner has achieved his goals. For several days we didn’t hear any sound of modern day life. It was absolutely blissful. No expense was spared to create a first class hotel in a setting with a remote feel.
Join us on quick walkthrough the hotel!
That said, if you need a break from the solitude and quiet of nature, you are not far from all that this area of Guatemala has on offer. Less than 30 minutes from Flores and 1 hour from Tikal, it is easy to adventure around the other areas if you want. Most of the other guests were off exploring outside of the hotel, only returning to their luxurious confines at the end of the day.
However, my recommendation is to spend as much time at the hotel as you can to really enjoy all that it has on offer.
Gorgeous Overwater Bungalows
After a seamless check in with a tasty hibiscus welcome drink (an icee no less – it’s like they knew how much we were missing ice!), we were whisked away along beautiful wooden walkways to our bungalow with a screened in porch overlooking the water. With only 19 bungalows on the property, all set over the lagoon, the resort has an especially exclusive feel. Each bungalow has its own private jacuzzi/hot tub on the deck which provides a wonderful touch of luxury.
The bungalows are decorated in a chic fashion with a sense of eco-design. All custom wood cottages are spacious with desks, TV, safe and all the typical amenities you would expect in a hotel of this caliber. Bungalows come with either double bed options for families or plush luxurious king beds as well as suites with living rooms attached. Even with a small number of rooms, the hotel has a great selection of accommodation options to suit most families.
Each bungalow is equipped with a roomy rain shower (with hot water!) and bathroom stocked with our favorite L’Occitane products. This isn’t rated as a 5 star hotel technically, but from my perspective it is as nice or nicer than any luxury 5 star property I have stayed in.
Guatemala is known as the ‘Land of Eternal Spring’ because of it’s temperate climate year round, but guests will enjoy the fans and air conditioner that comes standard in each bungalow. For the first time in a visit to a tropical destination I actually kept the AC off half of the time since the weather was so lovely.
I suggest visitors schedule plenty of time at the hotel because it is a beautiful place that you want to enjoy. We were more than happy to spend a good amount of time in our room, soaking in the hot tub while watching the birds fly past. It truly was one of the most peaceful, luxurious settings I have experienced.
What to Do at Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Flores Guatemala
Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel is a resort in the sense that once you are on the property you won’t want to leave. While it does not have all the trappings you might see in big resorts, it instead focuses on the merits of its location by providing a luxurious nature retreat. From the beautiful infinity pool overlooking the lagoon, to a well equipped spa for pampering yourself and adventure activities like biking and kayaking, you will have a tough time fitting it all in during your stay.
In addition to the amenities on property, the hotel also offers a daily boat tour on the lagoon and a visit to Monkey Island. This is a must do during your time at the hotel. It is wonderful to get out on the water to explore the areas where the crocodiles nest, observe a variety of herons and egrets as well as check out the rescued spider monkeys that the hotel takes care of each day.
In addition to these adventure activities, the hotel also houses an exquisite private collection of artifacts from throughout Guatemala that is on display in their small museum. It is definitely worth taking some time to explore this during your stay.
Finally, if you want to get out and explore, take advantage of the guide services provided by the hotel who will take you on birding tours, to Tikal and more.
Exquisite Dining in the Jungle
I am not a foodie, but I think that I am raising one! I have always been a very basic eater, but my son seems to have developed a much more sophisticated palate in his short 8 years. His favorite meal is salmon with broccoli and potatoes! Mine is probably cheese enchiladas. You can see the difference here.
Anyway, the point being, he (and I was as well!) was blown away by ALL of the meals at Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel. Shultun, the main restaurant on the property has an expansive view of the lagoon and tree tops around, while offering some of the best food you can find in Guatemala.
The chef uses local fresh ingredients combined with his knowledge of international cuisine to provide perfectly prepared dishes for all meals. From comfort food of oatmeal and hamburgers to local specialities we devoured every bite of every meal. A particular favorite was the grilled grouper.
Everything we ordered went beyond our expectations and was exceptional. Often when you visit foreign countries you aren’t quite sure what you will get when you order familiar dishes such as hamburgers or pizza. However, here at Shultun, everything you order will taste like you are eating it in a gourmet restaurant anywhere in America. And that for me is a great thing, especially after several weeks on the road.
My son is reminding me to tell you that you cannot miss out on their smoothies or their french fries. For me, I will be dreaming of their cheesecake for a while. It’s not often you find a perfectly made cheesecake outside of New York!
The chef and restaurant staff went above and beyond to provide amazing service and food for the duration of our stay. This is another quality of the hotel that makes it an absolute dream for families traveling with picky eaters. In our family, it just so happens that I am the picky one!
Up Close & Personal at the Nature Reserve
One of the things that attracted me to Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel in Flores Guatemala was the on property animal reserve. We love any opportunity to see wild animals up close as well as support local non-profit initiatives. Las Lagunas operates two reserves – one is Monkey Island where rescued spider monkeys are released back into the “wild” as well as a reserve where animals who cannot be released back into the wild live.
Las Lagunas works with an NGO called ARCAS, which is a wild animal rehabilitation center who works with the government group CONAP, who is in charge of wildlife in Guatemala.
The hotel’s role here is to receive animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and work to rehabilitate them to be released back into the wild. Many of the animals aren’t able to be fully rehabilitated and are placed in the private reserve. The animals are the responsibility of Las Lagunas, however the land is still owned by the government who also makes regular visits to make sure the animals are being cared for in the best possible way.
It was a joy to visit Monkey Island where one of their rescued spider monkeys, Margarita, hops on the boat. She is an older monkey who isn’t accepted by the other monkeys on the island so she is allowed to jump on the boat for her daily snack. No one is allowed to touch her and for the most part she just ignored all of us, focusing her energy on eating as many bananas and carrots as she could before she was forced back to the island!
The other monkeys are still quite wild and do not come near the boat, rather grabbing their food from a net in the safety of the trees on the island. This is a really unique experience that all guests, especially those with kids will enjoy.
The other reserve on the property is a 30-45 minute trek through the jungle. Here the hotel has a jaguar, ocelots, many deer species and birds who cannot be rehabilitated. The animals looked to have decent enclosures, but as always we would much rather see them in the wild. We were told that some of these animals were taken as pets as babies and can no longer fend for themselves.
The ocelots looked so surprised to see us, so I am not sure if they get many visitors. It was amazing however to see the jaguar up close. S/he seemed content cruising around the enclosure finding different spots to hide in the grass for a nap. If you have time, we highly recommend making the trek out. Make sure you are totally covered in tons of DEET as there are a lot of mosquitos in the jungle.
Why You Should Stay at Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel
The Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel located just outside of Flores Guatemala offers everything a luxury traveler would hope to find. From luxury accommodation options with attention to the finest details to superb meals and exceptional service Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel exceeds expectations. This is is an exceptional property for couples and families alike.
If you love nature, being off the grid a bit while being royally pampered, this is the place for you.
If your family loves to explore jungle trails, seek out birds and adventure on the water, this is the place for you.
If you need a minute away, where you can sit in silence listening to the animals around you, this is the place for you.
If you want to eat exceptional food, sit by a gorgeous pool and get a massage all in the midst of exploring one of Central America’s most beloved areas, this is the place for you.
Are you getting the hint? If you want beautiful surroundings, luxurious accommodation, amazing service and tasty meals, this is the place for you.
Families, check out the “Kids in the Jungle” package that includes accomodation for 2 adults and 2 children (under 10), airport transfers, dinner on a private deck, a one day tour of either Tikal or Yaxha, a visit to Monkey Island as well as all the other amazing amenities listed here in this post.
We absolutely loved Las Lagunas’ located outside of Flores Guatemala. We hope to return to the country to check out their upcoming properties in Antigua and Lake Atitlan. I have no doubt they would offer up the same exceptional service in a luxurious package. I highly recommend that you make a visit to Las Lagunas on your next visit to Guatemala. And who knows, you might just run into Ben Affleck as I hear he’s been known to visit as well!
Do you love a little luxury in nature too? It’s become my new motto for life!
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