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Ni'tun Private Reserve, Lake Petén Itzá

Central America

Leave stress behind at this unique retreat

When planning a recent trip to Guatemala, I luckily stumbled upon the webpage of a unique retreat on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá, called Ni’tun. My friend Joan and I had decided to visit Tikal and other Mayan sites in Petén and wanted to have a “home base” where we could stay for several days and take day trips around the region. Reading about Ni’tun, I realized we found exactly what we were looking for - a peaceful lodge in natural surroundings. Lorena, one of the co-owners, arranged all details of our day tours for us, communicating regularly by email prior to our arrival.

We expected a peaceful, natural retreat, and were not disappointed. Set on a hillside with its own private dock and boat for transportation to Flores and other towns around the lake, Ni’tun’s main building and the guest houses (casitas) were designed and built in traditional Mayan style. Our casita was spacious with two queen beds and outdoor seating. The two-story dining and bar area, pictured here, allows for outdoor dining and a relaxing place to enjoy drinks after a day of trekking through the jungle. Lorena, a talented chef, does most of the cooking, using organic, healthy ingredients, and she prepared one fabulous meal after another (vegetarian meals for me, and gluten-free for my friend Joan). We enjoyed premium Guatemalan rum -- Zacapa Centenario -- over ice (and learned: never use it as a mixer, it is one of the finest rums in the world). We left all stress behind the minute we arrived!