“Overlooking beautiful Lake Peten Itzá and close to the wonders of Tikal, Francis Ford Coppola's jungle lodge is a real winner”
Spread across various buildings, the casitas all share tranquil, bright interiors: white walls and floors, Indonesian furniture and comfy beds adorned with colourful Mayan textiles. Lakeview Suites are larger, with marble bathrooms and panoramic views towards the lake; the smaller Rainforest Casitas have tiled bathrooms and face the jungle, with a partial lake view. Rainforest Junior Suites are in the middle, set back from the lake, but with good watery views.
Your terrace is shared with the casita occupying the other half of your building; each has its own Indonesian coffee table and wicker chairs, and a carved parrot or banana bunch hanging from the thatched roof. Bathrooms have spacious showers, hairdryers and bathrobes; towels are embellished with a flower decoration on arrival.
Eleanor Coppola's penchant for Mayan art is evident in decorative huipile (blouses), carved masks and colourful Guatemalan rugs and cushions. Candles and fresh flowers add to the welcome. High arched wooden ceilings and fans keep the rooms cool. There's no telephone, although you can make calls (with a surcharge) at the office.
One of the delights of staying here is dining in the high-roofed restaurant-bar, open on 3 sides to the jungle and lake.
At breakfast , choose between beautifully presented fresh fruit platters, eggs cooked to order, or the tipica breakfast of eggs, plantains and refried beans. Juices, coffee and chocolate are all plentiful. Room service can be arranged if you're departing early for your tour.
Lunch begins with soup of the day, ceviche or salsa and guacamole. Mains include enchiladas, tacos, grilled marinated vegetables, fish or pork on rice and beans, and a simple range of sandwiches (grilled chicken, ham and cheese, BLT) and salads (tuna, chicken, mixed vegetables). A packed lunch can be made up if you're on a tour all day; let the staff know the night before.
There's an excellent and daily changing menu of Guatemalan and Italian-influenced dinner dishes. Certainly, we enjoyed our tamales (traditional beef and vegetables with baked corn dough) and roasted whole fish with a sea salt crust; and, on another night, charcoal-grilled pork chops with fennel, and a delicious seafood spaghetti. Other staples include grilled chicken topped with pumpkin seed dressing, and freshwater fish with chamula sauce, all served with tortillas, rice and refried beans. Try and leave room for desserts: the tiramisu and pannacotta are as good as any in Rome, while the banana or pineapple flambé with sugar rum is as juicy as it sounds.
There's an extensive (and expensive) house wine list, as well as beers, liqueurs and cocktails, all of which can be enjoyed at your table, or in the courtyard beside the fountain.
La Lancha can arrange all manner of tours and excursions; book the night before with Lucy or Ernesto, and be prepared for some early starts...
Although this isn't a dedicated family hotel, adventurous children will relish the wilderness setting and wealth of outdoor activities.
Teens (over 12)
All rooms can hold an extra bed or baby cot. Lakeview Suites are the most spacious, with a double bedroom, a separate lounge with sofabed (sleeps 2) and two bathrooms.
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Child menus are available.