El Remate is a small village on the eastern shores of Lake Petén Itzá, known mostly for its woodcarvings made by families that have been trained for generations in the trade. While El Remate had long been a tranquil and unspoiled village, today it is fast becoming a hot tourist spot for many who come to visit the famous Tikal ruins. El Remate is located at the midpoint of Flores, Tikal, and Lake Yaxhá, which makes it a good base for exploring not only the Tikal ruins, but also the natural lakes of Petén Itzá and Yaxhá.
El Remate itself does not offer much in the way of tourist attractions. It is more a base for visiting the Tikal ruins. Its main attraction is the Biotopo Cerro Cahuí nature reserve, a 1,500 acre rainforest. This is one of the most accessible wildlife reserves in El Petén. The reserve encompasses part of a mountain at the edge of Lake Petén Itzá through which trails loop and climb in and around, offering scenic, hiking, and wildlife-viewing opportunities. The reserve in fact is home to nearly 200 different species of birds, including exotic toucans and parrots. You’ll spot numerous spider monkeys, squat rodents like the tepezcuintles, and oscillated turkeys. There are two particular trails in the reserve that are great for hiking. One of the trails is Los Ujuxtes, which is three miles long and offers spectacular views of several lakes. The other trail is Tzu’unte, which also leads to scenic views of the reserve’s lakes like at the lookout of Mirador Moreltii, which is nicknamed the Crocodile Hill because the cliff looks like a half-submerged crocodile.
El Remate is also a great place for canoeing and kayaking. The many lakes at Biotopo Cerro Cahuí and around the town are temptingly pristine. Mountain biking and horseback riding are also popular in El Remate because of the town’s surrounding terrain and landscape.
Crocodile-watching at night is a unique attraction of El Remate. When it is pitch dark, you can take a tour ride on vehicles with high-powered head lights that take you to the nearby lakes where you’ll get a chance to watch the dozens and dozens of crocodiles infesting the waters.
El Remate is famous for its woodcarvings. Several of the indigenous families have passed down centuries of techniques and skills. There are a number of artisans who have inherited these trade secrets and dedicate their time to crafting these wares. The carvings are very high quality, not rivaled anywhere else in Guatemala, and can be purchased at several roadside stands between Ixlú and El Remate on the way to Tikal.
There’s not much nightlife in El Remate. It is a quiet village with a few small bars, mostly at the hotels.