"Tikal" Tikal by cher_36

Tikal Travel Guide: 8 reviews and 23 photos

The Journey to Tikal

We left Caye Caulker on a cloudy, rainy morning, so we weren't unhappy about leaving. We wouldn't be missing any sun time and perhaps we would find some. Our trip, booked through Barb on Caye Caulker cost something like this:
Return Marine Taxi Pass: $25.00 BZ
Return Bus Ticket to Tikal: $60BZ
Lodging at the Tikal Inn (dinner, breakfast included): $90 BZ
Lodging at Hotel Peten, Flores: $40 BZ
We wait at the rather smelly & seedy Marine Terminal in Belize City for our bus to take us into Guatemala. The bus is nice, clean, and lots of room. It is a TOURISTA bus. The bus driver played Santana tunes all the way to Tikal. I don't think he spoke English and we didn't speak Spanish. We wondered how we would fair on our trip but so far the tunes were a lot more than we expected as was the scenery, people and animals along and on the road, along the way.
The trip across the Border cost $20 BZ exit fee. We paid nothing to enter Guatemala. The money exchange people were all over us there and we learned it is a good idea to exchange your currancy there as they are supposed to be fair but some may give a better rate than others. You dont have much choice anyway, cause you need the currancy.
The highway through to Tikal was a little rough, and we were dropped off and met by a smaller van, on the road from Flores. The van contined to take us to Tikal National Park, entrance fee Q.10.00.
We had made it to the place I had dreamed about coming to for about 15 years.
Could we make it to see the sunset at the top of Temple IV. There would be no stopping for cervezas after the check-in to the wonderful cabanas in the middle of the jungle. We were more than pleasantly surprised but soon learned that the power goes off after 10 pm and certain times during the day. This would be an adventure.

The Experience!

Our most memorable experience of the Tikal trip was rising at 5:30 am stumbling around in the dark with no power in order to get dressed and meet friends so that we could get to the park gates and get to Temple IV for sunrise.
The spanish speaking park entrance guards were on duty and not allowing anyone in until 6:00. They finally allowed us in at 5:55, so that meant one would have to really hike quickly to reach the base of the Temple and then climb the stairs to the top. It was decided that I would hike ahead with a young Australian couple, who seemed to know where they were going in the dark. They had the flashlight so I had to keep up or get left in the dark.
What a hike and then climb to the top of Temple IV. A 40 minute hike took about 25 minutes. There were a few other energetic souls up there who had sneaked past the guards into the park. The sunrise was nothing but thick fog over the forest canopy, but it didn't matter. The sounds of the waking rain forest were mystical. I got my first encounter with a howler monkey. The wildest sound I had ever heard. It was somewhat alarming at first, because my friends had not reached the top of the Temple, and this growling noise was getting louder!
I was relieved to find out the noise was from a monkey and not a jaguar. So were my friends who were on the ground when the howlers started.
Sitting a top of the Temple IV at 6:30 in the morning is well worth the effort and the walk in the dark.

  • Last visit to Tikal: Feb 2003
  • Intro Updated Feb 8, 2004
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