Nature

 

Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty where you can enjoy the lush tropical rainforest, home to a wide diversity of plants and animals, as well as unique landscapes that showcase lagoons, seasonal rivers, waterholes and pools.

One of the main natural attractions of the Park is the Yaxha Lagoon, with an area of 8 square kilometers and 17 meters deep, which together with the Laguna del Tigre is considered the most important body of water throughout the Maya Biosphere Reserve. The second largest lagoon in the Park is the Sacnab Lagoon, located east of the Yaxha Lagoon and separated from it only by a filling, with an area of four square kilometers and a maximum depth of 13 meters. The Yaxha and Sacnab Lagoons can be seen from the top of the ancient Maya temples as well as from the docks and beaches. There are three other smaller lagoons in the Park called Champoxte, Lancajá and Juleque.

Water is one of the most valuable resources in this Park. Apart from the lagoons, the seasonal rivers Holmul, Ixtinto, and Yaxha cross the Park, and rainwater is also stored in ponds and waterholes. The waterholes or aguadas are depressions in the limestone soil that hold water in the rainy season for about four months. There are natural waterholes and other artificial ones built by the Maya during pre-Hispanic times.

In 2006, the Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park was designated as a wetland of global importance by the Ramsar Convention because:
 

Flora

The Park has 37,160 hectares of tropical rainforest with species like Breadnut (Brosimum alicastrum), Allspice (Pimenta dioca), Sapodilla (Manilkara achras), Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), Mexican Palmetto (Sabal mexicana), Root Spine Palm (Cryosophila argentea) and Cohune Palm (Oribygnia cohune).

The Park also has a high diversity of flowers, with 338 known species, 42 of them from the orchid family. One of the most important species of this forest is the Breadnut (Brosimum alicastrum). This tree was once the primary food of the Maya and today is used as a substitute for meat and corn in rural communities. The seed of the tree contains more protein than corn, more fiber and iron than oatmeal, more potassium than soy, and half a gram of fat more than wheat. Despite all the benefits of this tree, it is endangered by the accelerated logging of the Petén forests.

 

Fauna

The rainforest and water reservoirs of the Park are home to a great diversity of species, many of them endemic and/or endangered. In the Yaxha Lagoon lives one of the largest populations of the Moreletti crocodile (Crocodylus moreletti), endemic to the region, and the Central American River Turtle (Dermatemys mawi), both freshwater species.

Over 40 species of mammals have been documented, including Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi), Howler Monkeys (Alouatta pigra), Jaguars (Felis onca), Pumas (Felis concolor), Armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus), Margays (Felis weidii), Ocelots (Felis pardalis), Cental American Tapirs (Tapirus bairdii), Spotted Pacas (Agouti paca), Central American Agoutis (Dasyprocta punctata), Azara’s Foxes (Pseudalopex gymnocercus), Collared Peccaris (Tayassu tajacu), White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and Red Brockets (Mazama americana).

Destination Yaxha is also an ideal place for birdwatching. Some of the most relevant species are kingfishers (Alcenidae), herons (Ardeidae), storks (Ciconidae) and birds of pray like the Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis), the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and the Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis). There are also colorful birds such as Toucans (Ramphastidae), Motmots (Momotidae), Trogons (Trogonidae), Parrots (Psittacidae), Ocellated Turkeys (Mejeagris ocellata) and Pheasants (Phasianidae), plus some species of migratory birds like the Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria).
 

Your visit to Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park contributes to the protection of all these species of plants and animalss.


Other very characteristic birds of Destination Yaxha that you might see are:
Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens), Pale-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus guatemalensis), Slaty-tailed Trogon (Trogon massena), Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher (Myiobius sulphureipygius), Brown Jay (Psilorhinus morio), Tawny-crowned Greenlet (Hylophilus ochraceiceps), Blue Bunting (Cyanocompsa parellina), Black Catbird (Melanoptila glabirostris), Grey-throated Tanager (Xiphorhynchus flavigaster), White-browed Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), and Wedge-tailed Saberwing (Campylopterus curvipennis).



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Fotografías por: Raúl Noriega, Nelson Carabeo, Sergio Aja y Counterpart International - design (c) by Dimensión Digital