A Day Visit to Tremendous Tikal Ruins, Guatemala 2021

Temple II built in 700 A.D. on The Grand Plaza.

Tikal was the largest city in the Mayan world. An ancient city that took a thousand years to build and dates back to 200 A.D. It’s six square miles of paths through the wet, sticky hot jungle. We spent six and a half hours seeing the sights, and we didn’t see everything, so plan accordingly.

The paths of Tikal are currently empty except for tropical birds and monkeys in the trees.
A Keel billed Toucan we saw in the canopy above.

We felt like we had the place to ourselves because of Covid. The only sounds we heard as we walked were tropical birds and howler monkeys making their eerie horror movie sounds. Occasionally hard round fruits would fall onto the path, bitten by spider monkeys in the canopy above.

Temple I (aka The Big Jaguar) and a view of the North Acropolis to the left. I took this photo while standing atop Temple II.

There are some workers there, quietly digging the giant pyramids out of the jungle that covers them. Several sites have not yet been excavated at all and just appear to be large hills covered in towering trees and vegetation.

The temples poke out of the jungle below.
The smooth, giant rock ‘stele’ once portrayed colorful carvings of kings and gods.

We spent one night at The Jungle Lodge which is right at the entrance. This was a nice treat after walking and climbing stairs all day with a pool, restaurant and bar but it’s pretty expensive ($100 US per night). Another option is to stay in the beautiful island town of Flores, an hour and a half away on lake Peten Itza. We had a great hotel with a pool and several choices of restaurants within walking distance for just $55 US. We stayed there the night before we went to Tikal.

Rooms at Casona de La Isla in Flores are $55 and some have a lake and sunset view.
Temple V built between 550 and 650 A.D.

Tikal is truly amazing in size, height and grandeur. Add the feeling of being the original explorers finding these edifices hidden in the jungle and it’s an unforgettable experience. It’s a great time to visit!

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