In the heart of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Peten, the Sierra del Lacandon National Park hosts an immense biodiversity and invaluable ecosystems, such as virgin rainforests within the Usumacinta river basin. Created in 1990, it is the second largest national park in Guatemala, covering 202,865 hectares (501,290 acres). Since 1999, Defensores manages the park jointly with the National Council of Protected Areas - CONAP. - CONAP.
Half of the park boundaries correspond to the border between Mexico and Guatemala, Sierra del Lacandón serves as a biological corridor between the protected areas in both countries. Thanks to seven ecosystem types, the park has the highest biodiversity in the department of Peten. Unique features of Sierra del Lacandón are the “cenotes”, a type of karstic sink-hole, which often contains a turquoise colored lagoon at its bottom.
Many endangered species such as the jaguar (add latin names!!) puma and the scarlet macaw, find their home in Sierra del Lacandon. In addition, more than 300 species of birds, including migratory birds, enliven the trees and skies of this spectacular tropical forest. The abundance of wildlife has allowed Defensores to carry out field research within the park; our findings have become the main source of scientific references for several species.
In addition to a large population of moreletti- crocodiles (latin name), the Usumacinta River is also home to unique aquatic species.
The river has been an important travel route since pre-Colombian times and more than 30 archaeological sites have been found in the area, the most famous of which is Piedras Negras. On the opposite bank of the Usumacinta river, on the Mexican side, is located yet another major ancient Mayan city, Yaxchilan which was the arch-enemy of Piedras Negras in antiquity..