GUATEMALA: When Tikal met Tikal

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We leave Belize early in the morning and arrive at the Guatemalan boarder. This country is a strong symbol for us: 2 years ago, during our holidays between Guatemala and Belize, it is the country where we had the idea of our trip through Americas.

The boarder-crossing is pretty easy and fast even if we have to change money with the guys at the border who offer a ridiculous exchange rate. But no choice, we have to pay in Quetzales… After a last paid bridge here we are, the 4 wheels in Guatemala !

Tikal

We directly drive in direction of Tikal, as tomorrow we will meet Fred and Chloé (left in Chetumal, they went ahead of us since).

On the road, a little break in El Remate, peaceful village near Petén Itza lake, we have lunch and enjoy the view before heading to Tikal.

The site

Tikal is one of the most powerful Mayan city in the precolombian period.

The kingdom shined between the IIIrd and the IXth centuries after JC, a long period! One of the most powerful empire at this period as it had extended its influence to Teotihuacán, the Mayan site near Mexico of which we talked about here.

Tikal is just a few dozens of kilometers from Calakmul, another Mayan site we visited in Mexico and of which we talked here. And we find the elements that we loved in Mexico: the jungle, the stone and the animals. Indeed, Tikal is not just an archaeological site, it is also a protected natural park.

By the way, on the road to the park entrance, we have to be careful because we can meet some inhabitants:

Small tip, if you buy a ticket for the park of Tikal after 3PM, it is possible to enjoy the site the same day until the closing hour and the day after with the same ticket.

Tikal Day 1

We park Tikal (the van) in a campground near the entrance, and go for a walk inside the park until the sunset.

Even the second time, Tikal (the pyramid) looks still amazing!

As the sun is going down, the small and not so small animals go out. And we are so happy to see our favorite howler monkeys, the spider monkeys, a ton of different birds and even a toucan playing hide-and-seek with us.

We leave the park by night and spent a great night with the song of the howler monkeys.

Tikal Day 2

The wake up is a bit difficult, we meet Chloé and Fred at 6AM. It is early but it must have been even earlier for them who come from Flores… a coffee in the thermos and we go to meet them in front of the entrance.

It is Sunday, and during the week-end the park is free for Guatemalans, so we expect to be a lot during the visit.

But at 6AM, it is still dark outside and we are almost just the 4 of us. And when the sun rises, the morning mist stays stuck in the trees and gives a mysterious atmosphere to our walk while the wildlife enjoys its land before the arrival of the tourists.

We walk through the park during a few hours: the walk is delightful, under the trees, in the deep forest, when suddenly, after turning on the trail, you see a big pyramid.

Tikal is definitely one of our favorite Mayan sites!

On the way out, we meet an army of ants, a family of howler monkeys and a big band of coatis looking for food.

Tikal has really a rich wildlife!

We leave Tikal with our friends in the back on the van, direction: Flores. After a deserved lunch and a good beer, we finish the day with a short dip into the lake.

It is time for us to say goodbye to our friends who will go back to Mexico.

We go park the van near the lake for a peaceful night before going back on the road tomorrow: we will go back near the Belize border, to visit Yaxha, another Mayan site, less known but, we heard, very interesting.

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