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La Lancha 4.0


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Review Summary

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  • Exclusive rainforest retreat owned by Francis Ford Coppola
  • Lakeside location 40 minutes away from Tikal National Park
  • Rustic and comfortable rooms with balconies and hammocks
  • Outdoor split-level pool for sunbathing and relaxing
  • Canoes available to enjoy on Lake Peten Itza
  • Open-air restaurant and rooftop bar with Coppola wines
  • Free Wi-Fi


  • No TVs
  • No hot tub
  • Some balconies are shared with adjoining casita (separated by a curtain)
  • Climbing stairs required
  • Some complaints of thin walls

Bottom Line

La Lancha is one of a handful of exclusive Central American hideaways owned by Francis Ford Coppola. This small 10-room rainforest retreat has a lakeside location 40 minutes away from the famous Mayan ruins at Tikal National Park. Rooms are rustic and comfortable with fantastic balconies and hammocks for admiring the views. Hotel highlights include a split-level pool, the beautiful Lake Peten Itza with canoes, and an on-site restaurant and bar serving Guatemalan cuisine and Coppola wines. Some guests have complained about the lack of a hot tub and the thin walls between casitas. There are no TVs, and climbing stairs is required on this hillside property.

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A quiet rainforest retreat overlooking a lake

The 10-room La Lancha is built on a hillside overlooking Lake Peten Itza, one of the largest lakes in Guatemala. The open-air dining room overlooks the lake and the rooftop bar serves Coppola wines. The scene here is a relaxed and romantic one, from the bi-level swimming pool with a few lounge chairs and umbrellas to the rocky shoreline of the lake. (Be warned that it's a long, strenuous climb back up the stairs from the lake to the lodge.) There are canoes available for guests that want to experience some peaceful exercise.

Wi-Fi is free and the signal is strong in the main restaurant and bar area. It also reaches down to the rooms. The dining room and bar are the hotel's social hub and there are beautiful sunsets to be enjoyed over a drink. A group of friendly howler monkeys inhabit the trees overlooking the dining room, making this hotel one of the best places in Guatemala to view these fuzzy (and often noisy) creatures.


A 40-minute drive from the Mayan ruins in Tikal National Park

La Lancha is located 10 kilometers from the main (paved) road that connects Tikal National Park to Flores, home to Mundo Maya International Airport. From a turnoff at the village of El Remate, an all-season dirt road leads the final 10 kilometers to the lodge. The road follows the shore of Lake Peten Itza, passing wonderful views along the way. Transfers to the lodge are available from Mundo Maya International Airport, but guests that plan on exploring the area in-depth will save money by renting a car. The lodge itself is built on a hillside overlooking the lake and occupies its own forest reserve.

  • 50-minute-drive to Mundo Maya International Airport
  • 12-minute drive to Cerro Cahui Forest Preserve
  • 40-minute drive to Tikal National Park
  • 50-minute-drive to hanging bridges at Ixpanpajul Nature Park
  • 55-minute drive to Flores
  • 80-minute drive to Belize border


Rustic, comfortable casitas, some with lake views

La Lancha has 10 thatched-roof, stucco-walled casitas. All rooms are screened to prevent unwanted visits from jungle critters. Inside, the high ceilings are made of wooden beams. The entire side of the room facing the patio is composed of a mesh screen, with curtains for privacy. Each big bungalow contains two rooms; a curtain separates the patios between neighbors. Some balconies have hammocks and incredible lake views.

The rooms have air-conditioning and a ceiling fan, but cooling breezes also come in through the screened windows. Other room amenities include a conch shell with an intercom inside (known as a "shell phone") used to order room service. Comfortable beds have numerous types of pillows and big Guatemalan bedspreads.

Lakeview Casitas are priced slightly higher than the smaller Rainforest Casitas. In addition to more space, they feature lake views and upgraded furniture and knick-knacks. Bathrooms in the rainforest casitas are on the small side, though both room types feature walk-in showers and rain showerheads.

  • All rooms have wooden patios
  • Air-conditioning
  • Comfortable beds
  • Balinese furniture includes an armoire and a desk
  • Ceiling fans
  • Walk-in showers
  • Handmade, eco-friendly soaps and shampoos
  • No in-room TV


A beautiful split-level swimming pool and lake with canoes

The rainforest retreat of La Lancha has some appealing features for guests looking to relax. A split-level swimming pool has comfortable lounge chairs that overlook the lake. There is also a swimming area adjacent to the lake, with canoes for exploring. A gift shop stocks Guatemalan knick-knacks at reasonable prices and the hotel can arrange a variety of activities from bird watching to horseback riding tours.


Guatemalan cuisine prepared using fresh ingredients

The open-air, thatched-roof dining room at La Lancha overlooks the lake and forest from above. A well-stocked bar is adjacent to the restaurant in the main lodge and serves Coppola wines. The restaurant serves three meals a day (continental breakfast is included in the nightly rate).

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Lake Peten Itza, Santa Elena, Guatemala


(800) 464-2040

Room Types

  • Lakeview Casitas
  • Rainforest Casitas

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