Enchanting spots: Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal Situated deep in the jungles of northern Guatemala, Tikal is the largest of the ruined cities of the splendorous Maya civilisation. This ancient city with its breathtaking pyramids (some of which are higher than 60 meters!), temples, palaces and monuments reached its epitome in the 1st century AD but can trace its roots back to the 4th century BC. It is estimated that the city was abandoned in the 10th century. A listed UNESCO World Heritage Site and a sure highlight of a trip to Guatemala, Tikal possesses a mystical atmosphere, compounded by its location deep in the tropical rainforest, that is truly unique.

Exploring the various temple and palace complexes requires hiking through the rainforest along trails that are sometimes steep and slippery but are extremely rewarding. Look out for the colourful toucans, green parrots and various monkey species such as the spider monkey along the way. The best place for a panoramic view of the city and the jungle is the top of Temple IV. It’s a challenging climb involving ladders and giant tree roots for support but the views are breathtaking. The Star Wars fans among us will also recognise this spot where scenes for the first movie were filmed. Save the best for last: plan your journey around the city so that you’ll end up at the palace and the ‘Plaza Mayor’. The ‘Plaza Mayor’ is the central square with two immense pyramids (Temples I and II) flanking both ends and is definitely Tikal’s centrepiece.

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10 Responses to “Enchanting spots: Tikal, Guatemala”

  1. velvet 09/10/2009 8:18 pm
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    Hi Marina,
    Wow, that’s special. It really is a special place.
    Thank you for your comment.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  2. marina k. villatoro 09/10/2009 8:11 pm
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    Tikal! I was just there a couple of weeks ago. I actually met my husband there, we camped next to each other at the only camping site inside the park.

    A lot of the rules are different now and much more expensive, but still an amazing place that everyone should visit!!!

  3. Richard Escobar 16/07/2009 4:47 am
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    I love the Star Wars reference! Hahaha! Awesome.

  4. velvet 14/07/2009 11:50 am
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    Thanks for the comment Amy. As I stood atop the pyramid (Temple VI), with a view of the tops of the other pyramids breaching the jungle canopy, I imagined the Millennium Falcon flying in (just like in the movie) – it was very surreal. Tell your husband that I’m I’m sure it’ll be him dragging you along! ;-)

    Cheers,
    Keith

  5. Amy @ The Q Family 13/07/2009 8:31 pm
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    You have me at ‘Star Wars’. :) I mean typically my husband probably won’t even take a second look at this location. He is not the outdoor adventure type. But I think now I know a way to peek his interest. :)

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