"Rustic Pueblo on Rio Pasion with Major Mayan Ruins" Sayaxché by atufft

Sayaxché Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 79 photos

Sayaxche is a place to visit soon...

Like so many places in the world, this little town sits on a river waiting for a bridge over the La Pasion, a river of considerable size in Guatemala. But, this is a town within the poor Peten region, far away from the politicas of the capital city. Currently, all traffic stops and waits for either the vehicle transport ferry, which is powered by outboard motors, or for the passenger river launches that frequently cross. However, given the traffic, I won't be surprised if a bridge is built sometime in the not so distant future. So, visit while the crossing is still quaint and rustic.

We spent most our time watching the river traffic

Our hotel (see hotel tip) was right on the waterfront, so we sat on the balcony watching the ferries traffic back and forth all day and night. Sayaxche is also a place where those living up or down river would come to buy supplies, so private boats, mostly open vessels with outboard motors, would come and go. There is no dock, but rather boats came ashore on the river's edge. At the time we visited, the guidebooks said very little about this place, and some travelers recommended against visiting Sayaxche due to malaria and poor transporation. In Flores though, we were able to quickly dismiss these concerns and learned that a new highway from Flores through Sayaxche to Coban was now open. The only thing missing was the bridge at Sayaxche, and this would become a major thoroughfare.

El Ciebal Ruins are just upstream

Bargain for a boat and go La Pasion River to the haunting El Ciebal Mayan ruins. This is only one of several archeological sites available from Sayaxche, but perhaps one of the easiest to access by the river.

Update: Although we claim first discovery Sayaxche for the VT system, fellow VT member and excellent writer, calcaf38, has followed our advise when creating his own itinerary for Flores, Sayaxche, and Coban. His work is highly recommended reading. Travelers along this route through the Mayan Highlands are relatively few in number compared to the flatter main highways linking Guatemala City/Antigua and Flores/Tikal. Sayaxche, while still in the swampy flats of Peten, is still the best gateway to great adventure going west.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great edge of the world kind of place
  • Cons:Not much to do at night
  • In a nutshell:Sayaxche is a good stopping point between Flores and Coban
  • Last visit to Sayaxché: Dec 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (8)

Comments (8)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2009 at 7:39 PM

    What character and what charm. Wonderful page!

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2008 at 5:45 AM

    Excellent tips on how to enjoy OTBP travel in Central America! My wife and I also enjoyed our backpacking experiences in Belize and Guatemala a couple of years ago - it makes everything so much more fun!!

  • Apr 30, 2008 at 4:59 PM

    Absolutely sensational. I love getting the opportunity to observe the lives of the local populace whenever I am abroad.

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2007 at 1:16 PM

    Nice representation of your river adventure Alan! Beautiful pictures, specially like the ones from river ride on la Pasion :)

  • Dulebg's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2007 at 9:31 AM

    Hi Alan! Indead very sourcefull and intersting tips for Sayaxche. Amazing!! I liked especially your "River Ride on La Pasion ". Very intersting to me.Something I'll not miss in Guatemala. Just keep on.

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2007 at 9:10 PM

    Excellent narration of your rive boat trips. I always enjoyed river crossings but at times the overloading is worrisome. Cheers, SL

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2007 at 1:49 PM

    What an interesting location and great pics !

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2006 at 10:16 AM

    Magnificent page. Looks like a place I would be happy visiting. Great photos.


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