Peten is a place in Guatemala. In terms of geography, it is the northernmost department of Guatemala, as well as the largest by area. At 35,854 km2, it makes up about a third of Guatemala's land area. In the capital, Flores, there is a city hall. The official figure for the population at the end of 2018 was 595,548.
People living in Peten live on the east side of Belize and on the west side of Mexico (with the Mexican states of Chiapas to the west, Tabasco to the northwest and Campeche to the north). There are two Guatemalan states to the south: Alta Verapaz and Izabal. There are two rivers that make up most of the western border with Mexico. One of them is the Usumacinta River, which flows into the Salina River. This department's southern border is made up of the rivers Gracias to God and Santa Isabel, which make up a part of the border.
The Peten lowlands are made up of a densely forested, low-lying limestone plain with karstic topography that is densely forested. The area is crossed by low east-west ridges of Cenozoic limestone. It has a wide range of forest and soil types, as well as small rivers and low-lying seasonal swamps called bajos. 14 lakes run across the central drainage basin of the Peten. During the rainy season, some of these lakes become linked together. This drainage area is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) east-west and 30 kilometres north-south. The largest lake is Lake Peten Itza, which is in the middle of the drainage basin. It is 32 by 5 km in size. A wide savannah is found south of the central lakes. It has a compact red clay soil that isn't good for a lot of farming. This led to a low level of pre-Columbian occupation. The savannah is at an average altitude of 150 metres (490 ft) above mean sea level. The karstic ridges reach an average altitude of 300 metres above mean sea level (980 ft). People live in savannahs that are surrounded by hills that are very steep on the south and flat on the north. The hills are covered with dense tropical forest. To the north of the lakes area, bajos become more common, and there are also more forests. In the north of the Peten, the Mirador Basin is another drainage area. Toward the Guatemalan Highlands, Peten rises to an altitude of about 500 metres (1,600 ft). It meets Paleozoic metamorphic rocks that were formed in the Paleozoic.
It has many lakes, like Peten Itza and Petenchel in the middle, Quexil and Salpeten in the east, Petexbatin in the southwest, Perdida, Larga, La Gloria and San Diego in the west. There are also many smaller lakes, like Yaxhab and Sacnab in the east; Petexbatin in the southwest; and Perdida, Larga, La Gloria and San Diego in the west.