"Ruins in the jungle" Top 5 Page for this destination Parque Nacional Tikal by toonsarah
Parque Nacional Tikal Travel Guide: 314 reviews and 1,008 photos
Those that have been excavated and (in some cases) restored tower above the tree tops, giving rise to the nickname that was quoted to us several times by locals: the “New York of Guatemala”. Well, New York it isn’t, but it is all the more amazing for that. To consider that these massive structures were built so long ago (between the late 7th and early 9th centuries), and without the use of technology, is truly awesome.
Like Antigua, this has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and forms a protected National Park. Admission is necessarily tightly controlled, to protect the monuments, and tickets sold on a day permit basis. Most tourists, like ourselves, spend only a day or two here, but the site is so extensive that anyone with more than a passing interest in Mayan history would need at least a little longer to explore it properly, and a serious scholar could be kept happy for weeks!
In our one day in the park we covered an amazing 6.5 miles, according to our excellent guide Miguel (amazing because I was still not 100% recovered from last year’s broken foot and had done very little walking) – and yet we still didn’t see anything like all the monuments and pyramids.
We did however see all the main sights – the tallest and most impressive of the temples (I – VI), a number of other pyramids, several palaces, the Grand Plaza, the Central Acropolis complex, the so-called El Mundo Perdido (The Lost World) and the Plaza of Seven Temples, as well as the park’s two small museums.
I was thrilled that despite my still-weak foot I managed to climb one of the pyramids (Temple IV), while Chris climbed all that he could! Do try to get up one at least (Temple IV, despite being the tallest, is also the easiest) as it’s only really from up here that you get a true sense of the scale and wonder of Tikal.
My “Things to Do” tips are presented in the order in which we visited the ruins, so you can follow our tour as we walk around the complex ...
- In a nutshell:Allow at least a whole day for this amazing place
It can get pretty hot in the middle part of the day here, so light clothing is best. If you’re going to be in the... more travel advice
A small ball court lies between Temple I and the Central Acropolis. This has the same design as most of these... more travel advice
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