Mayan town lost in the jungle
Tikal is one of the most beautiful Mayan towns not only in Guatemala, but also in the Central America. Additionally, it is overgrown with lush tropical vegetation, which also adds to its beauty. Unlike beautiful Palenque in Mexico there are far less visitors and in the surroundings of more distant ruins you can sometimes feel that you’re here almost alone.
The ruins of Mayan town Tikal is surrounded by one of the largest tropical forests in Central America, both protected by national park. Its parts stretch up to Mexico and Belize. You can best get here from nice tourist town of Flores situated on an island in the lagoon Peten Itza by minibuses collecting every morning tourists for this trip.
The path leads first in agricultural landscape (originally jungle) to the border of the national park, from where it leads for about 17km in virgin forest. Visitor center is then more than a 15 minute walk from the first sights, so you can enjoy also the local forest. Very nice are high Ceiba trees that grow up to seventy meters.
Temple I Jaguar – from the back
After fifteen minutes of pleasant walk through the jungle finally peeks out the back wall of Temple I. It is 47 meters high.
Right at the beginning you can climb the stairs to the top of the palace, which is interesting because from it there is a nice view of the Great Plaza, the North Acropolis and Temple I from the side.
Great Plaza is covered with close-cropped lawn and it is ideal for views to all sides. Directly across Temple I there is Temple II, on top of which it is worth to climb as it is the best outlook point in the entire Tikal.
The North Acropolis
Behind a variety of sacred obelisks there are smaller temples of North Acropolis. At first glance, they do not look as interesting as other temples. But anyway, it is definitely worth to see them – above all to be able to have a nice view of Temple II and you can observe here interesting birds Ocellated Turkey.
Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris Ocellata)
Beautiful Ocellated Turkeys are often stalling around the North Acropolis. Their name is really apt, because they really look like a crossbreed of turkey and peacock.
Temple II from Acropolis
There is an amazing view of Temple II from Acropolis – you can see local architecture to the smallest detail.
Leave the ascent to Temple II itself to the way back, when the sun moves a little.
Tikal itself is quite extensive, but unfortunately you will see the best around the Great Plaza at the very beginning. So you cannot expect anything better then.
You can meet here begging coatimundi – „surprisingly“ mainly near the signs “do not feed the animals”.
If you go farther west to Temple IV, you will again walk in the jungle. On the way you can observe interesting obelisks.
Jungle of Peten
Temple IV is at the end of the path in the jungle. It is largely overgrown with vegetation and so it does not seem to be with its 64 meters the highest Maya building at all. From its top, however, there is a nice view of the immense jungle of Peten, from which peek out only the tips of local temples.
Mundo Perdido „The Lost World“ is the largest ceremonial complex in Tikal. The pyramid is partially overgrown and trees are growing even on its top.
Unfortunately, the entry is banned to both Mundo Perdido as well as to Temple I.
Temple V closes the southwest circuit of monuments in Tikal. The original staircase is closed to tourists, but there is fortunately additional steep stairway built next to it – rather a ladder for those not suffering from dizziness. There is quite a nice view of the jungle and Temple I. from the temple – see the introductory photo of the photoreport.
Temple I from Temple II
Approximately after 2–3 hours you will come back to the Great Plaza. Now the sun moved, so it is worth to climb to Temple II and enjoy the view.
The path to Temple VI
Most tourists are now slowly returning back, but if you still want to, you can go through jungle to the southeast to Temple VI. (Temple of Inscriptions). You will see here warning signs: „Beware of Bandits“ – Guatemalan classic, but you will probably meet here neither bandits nor even tourists.
Temple VI itself is not as interesting as other buildings that you have seen here. Perhaps the way here through the jungle was more interesting.
Anyway, Tikal will certainly gladden you heart – amazing sights in beautiful countryside and in addition not very crowded.
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