Travel review: Tikal National Park, Guatemala Central America

Travel to Tikal National Park, in Guatemala and you will be impressed.And then some!

Located about halfway between San Igancio, Belize and Flores, Guatemala, it is a site that one does not want to miss.

The park is a massive, 222 sq. miles of jungle, Mayan temples, endangered species of wildlife and fauna.

The resort greets you at the entrance, and fades quickly out of sight as you begin down the path into Tikal and its many ruins and roaming wildlife.

It is an easy walk, flat land, no real major hills to climb.

Usually jungle on both sides of the path, and the traveler should walk quietly, so as not to scare the wildlife. If one is quiet, the wildlife can be seen throughout the park.

The first thing I saw were spider monkeys. I heard a rustle in the trees, and wondered “What could be making this noise?”.

I kept still and quiet.

My reward was that 4 spider monkeys were swinging between the trees. As I looked, one hesitated between one tree and the other.

A great body shot of a spider monkey, fully stretched between two limbs of two different trees. Great site and view.This was going to be a great walk!

The first area to travel to was the Grand Plaza.

It gives the appearance that it is the main part of the ruins.

It is a courtyard complex, with temples on the east and west side of the courtyard.

On the north and south sides are buildings, possibly used for assembly places or shops.

This picture was took while a I was atop the smaller of the two temples in the Grand Plaza.

As you can tell from the metal grid work on the right side of the temple, it is under renovation.

This is occurs throughout the park. After centuries of being hidden under the jungle blanket of trees, vines and other fauna, this will be a task for the park management for many years.

Travel down another path out of the Grand Plaza, and 2 choices are available to the traveler – Temple 4 or Temple 5. There, as I walked down the path to Temple 4, it literally appeared out of the jungle.

I thought to myself, “Where the heck did that come from?” And this thing is MASSIVE!

No sign that this was coming into view – one step I did not notice it, second step it was in full view.

Quite Impressive, really, that these are so close together, yet hidden.

There are wooden steps to climb the temples, which is pretty impressive. These temples are high, and to build the wooden steps to reach the top must have been a task that was unique.

Now, I am 58 years old, I smoke way to much. How many times am I going to get to Tikal? Huffing and puffing, I climbed 4 in all.

The views were just breathtaking.

When one looks over the layout of the Tikal site, it is not too difficult to understand why these were hidden for so many years. The jungle just grew over them.

The vines climbed up the sides of the temple and buildings, trees form roots and grow on the steps of the temples, and covered the ruins with a green mass of vegetation.

The task at hand to restore these temples to their original glory is a mammoth effort!

The traveler looks at mounds that are temples, just covered with the jungle as a blanket. The restoration process is not just getting rid of vines and small ferns.

Imagine 3 foot thick trees growing into the steps and sides of the structures. These not only cut down, but the root system must be taken out before restoration can begin.

Then there is the heat, rain, bugs and where to get the needed replacement for the stones that have been ruined that make up the buildings and temples. Mind boggling to this fellow!

If one does get to Guatemala or Belize, it is definitely worth the trip to see these ruins.

Having seen the Pyramids in Egypt, I would say the Mayans had it over the Pharaoh’s. The size of the Mayan Temples are comparable to those of the Pyramids.

When the traveler considers the jungle, the heat, the humidity, the clearing of the land, and the other obstacles that were at hand, it is amazing that the Mayan’s built these temples at all!

The size of the building stones were much smaller here at Tikal vs Egypt. If one considers that it meant the Mayan’s had to use more stones to build these straight and high, it is beyond this author’s comprehension of how they managed to do it. Correct corners, straight walls and massive height, the skill involved was phenomenal.

Next post up, the Howling Monkeys, the turkeys and the fox at Tikal

Cheers for now

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About John Wilson

Traveler, writer and photographer. No home now, just traveling the world in search of the lost chord.
This entry was posted in Guatemala - the country, the people, the sites and pictures, Travel to Tikal National Park, Guatemala Central America and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Travel review: Tikal National Park, Guatemala Central America

  1. silverboom says:

    Good write-up, John – and your photos are better. You are beginning to understand perspective and composition. Keep on writing, keep on shooting. And try different settings on the camera to learn how it affects the photos you shoot.

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