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I ❤️ (The Mayan) New York

Tikal, by Norm

sunny 25 °C

We have met several types of travellers so far. They range from users of 5 star hotels doing excursions with all the bells and whistles, to those on the cheapest budget, some needing to work along the way to cover their travel costs, and all types in between. Along the way, we have learned that since we travel with our kids in tow a combination of these travelling styles works best for us. Also, our best sightseeing tours have definitely occurred first thing in the morning after staying nearby and getting our sightseeing all finished before the tour buses even arrive.

That was the case in Tikal. The Mayan City is deep in the jungle of northern Guatemala. The nearest small town is over an hour away.
We stayed at the lovely Tikal Inn on the national park property which allowed us to do both the sunset and sunrise tours. We saw most of the park with nobody else in sight!

Tikal is frequently described as the Mayan New York, the city of skyscrapers, while Copan (later in the trip in Honduras) is more artistic and is known as the Mayan Paris. Many of the towering structures at Tikal can be very carefully climbed (Ailsa's spectacular head-first tumble miraculously turned out fine and we were actually able to laugh about it minutes later), allowing for beautiful sight lines, especially during quiet times without the tour bus crowds. There are 6 main temples and several pyramids, residential and administration buildings. The Gran Plaza has 2 temples on opposite sides that are lined up such that one temple's shadow completely covers the other temple on each Equinox. On our sunset tour were able to relax and watch darkness set in and the wildlife emerge. The pairs of parrots taking flight were especially impressive.


We had to wake up early for the sunrise tour departure at 4am, but this was not an issue as some howler monkeys decided to declare the nearby forest canopy as their property at 2:30am, ensuring everyone heard and was already awake. We climbed Temple IV (which was also the lookout post for the rebel base in the original Star Wars movie -cool!) to watch the sun rise over the Gran Plaza and Temple III.


As we strolled back to the hotel for breakfast and a swim in the pool our guide pointed out many of the native flora and fauna. The ceiba tree is the national tree and is fiercely protected. All the ones we saw were immense as shown in the picture of the kids around the trunk. He offered us a black pepper leaf to chew, an old Mayan dental remedy with an anaesthetic similar to xylocaine. Mirren could not feel her tongue for half an hour after that. She was later looking for another leaf when she noticed a wiggly tooth!


As we left the park, the tour buses were just unloading, and we were gearing up for one of the most difficult travel days of the trip so far. Away we go!

Posted by Salsa Sojourns 15:04 Archived in Guatemala

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¡Qué experience tan maravillosa!

by leogirard

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