- Style Stilted lakeside casitas
- Setting Guatemalan monkey jungle
With parakeets for background music and howler monkeys for alarm clocks, Francis Ford Coppola’s Guatemalan outpost near Tikal, La Lancha hotel, is located in one of the world’s wilder – and most beautiful – spots. Hidden by rainforest on the shores of Lake Peten Itzá, the hotel’s ten naturally built casitas offer spellbinding views of the glassy waters and the greenery of Guatemala, as well as a back-to-nature vibe that’s tinged with luxury.
Need to know
- Rooms 10.
- Rates Double rooms from $125.00, excluding tax at 22 per cent.
- More details Rates include Continental breakfast.
- Facilities Small library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: iPod player, minibar, handmade organic toiletries.
- Poolside The smooth stone area around La Lancha’s curvy split-level pool is dotted with loungers and deck chairs and encircled by vibrant greenery.
- Check–out Midday, although later check-out may be possible.
Children Overhanging branches and steep slopes mean the hotel isn’t ideal for younger children, although under-12s can stay free and extra beds ($50 a night) and babysitting services are available.
- Eco‐friendly All Coppola’s resorts have impressive eco-credentials, including locally sourcing all food and building materials, recycling waste, and maintaining a low carbon footprint (thanks to the lack of TVs, air-conditioning and other carbon hungry mod cons.
- Also A two-night minimum stay is required over Christmas and Easter.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms La Lancha’s casitas come in two flavours. We like the front row of Lakeview Casitas, particularly neighbouring numbers 1 and 2 for their big decks, meditative hammocks, and the utterly wonderful vistas over the glassy lake. Numbers 4 and 6 also have partial lake views.
- Packing tips Nibbling insects emerge at night, so make sure you have trousers to keep your legs covered. Binoculars and a decent camera are essential for wildlife watching.
- Also La Lancha is prime twitching territory, as the rainforest is home to hundreds of exotic bird species, including toucans and falcons. Take a trek or a mountain bike along one of the resort’s jungle trails or hop on the small motorboat for a sunrise tour.
Food and drink at La Lancha
- Hotel restaurant Guatemalteca Restaurant is a palm-thatched palapa overlooking the sea where guests gather to enjoy authentic local dishes of fresh fish and parilla-grilled meat. There’s also a wood-fired pizza oven and a comal for cooking tortillas.
- Dress code Relaxed jungle garb.
- Top table Sit close to nature on the edge of the palapa, or take a picnic down to the edge of the lake.
- Last orders The grill starts to cool at 9pm, but the bar keeps serving until the last guest leaves.
- Hotel bar Guests gather round the little bar in Guatemalteca to sip cocktails to a soundtrack of cicadas and howler monkeys.