Texas Motor Speedway
Fort Worth Zoo
Tikal (Mayan ruins)
Ambergris Caye
San Pedro Town
Crooked Tree
Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctaury
Lamanai (Mayan ruins)
New River boat trip
Shipstern Wildlife Reserve
Bermudian Landing
Howler Monkey Lodge
Belize River canoe trip
Community Baboon Sanctuary
Hill Bank Station

Belize Zoo

Cave Tubing
San Ignacio
Macal River canoe trip

Rio On Pools
Caracol (Mayan ruins)
After arriving at the Flores, Guatemala airport the process of clearing Immigrations and Customs was quick and easy. Before we even got past the Customs Officers several mini van drivers were already soliciting us to take their mini van. Note the price per person is dependant upon the number of passengers. Therefore, it is best to ask other passengers on the plane if they would like to share a mini van. Creating a partnership BEFORE arriving will make things go much smoother and less chaotic. It cost us about $10 USD per person (4 passengers) for the 1 hour ride to Tikal.

Tikal - "Place of voices" or "Place of whispers." Almost no words or photographs can do this place justice. It is truly amazing! This is a place that needs to be experienced to truly understand. It’s almost spiritual. The hike through the jungle to get to the ruins only helped to set the stage.

The path is wide and cleared but still a rough undulating walking surface through dense jungle. It’s a hike rather than a walk. All of our senses were stimulated by the views, the smells, the sounds of exotic birds, monkeys, and other unidentified noises. The trail was filled with several distractions like termite nests, orchids, and the amazing leaf-cutter ant trails running through the jungle like a miniature Interstate freeway system. Once we finally got our first view of one of the temples it was jaw dropping. The pyramid rose majestically framed by palm trees, strangler figs, and other jungle plants.

Tikal is big. Really big. We had a full day and a half to explore and that was barely enough time. Anything less would not have been enough. The more we learned about Tikal and the mysterious ancient Mayan civilization that built it the more incredible it became. The rough walking and distance between the many temples, acropolises, palaces, and complexes took a toll on my poor old battered ankles. Both were shattered in a skydiving accident many years ago and have gone through 10 major orthopedic surgeries. I just popped a few more pain pills and kept on going.

Video 1 - 2.5MB low res video clip of the Grand Plaza

Video 2 - 6.20MB med res video clip of the Grand Plaza

The view from the tops of the temples is stunning. For 360 degrees looking out over the top of the jungle all that can be seen is trees and a few Mayan temples poking up. No sign of modern man can be seen. We were fortunate to be alone on top of Temple V. Not even a person was in sight at the base of the temple. We sat there for several minutes just listening to the breeze and the sounds of the jungle. Our imaginations began to drift as we tried to imagine what this place must have looked like 1,500 or 2,000 years ago.

Video 3 - 2.16MB low res video clip taken from the top of Temple.
My only regret to our visit of Tikal was not climbing to the top of Temple IV. We climbed to the top of one of the temples in the Grand Plaza plus Temples V and VI but once we got to Temple IV the poor old body ran out of gas and my ankles were screaming. However, the joy of Tikal far out weighted the pain. It was worth the effort. One thing that softened the disappointment was that I had climbed to the top of Temple IV 9 years ago. The ankles are shot but the memory is still there.

On our previous visit to Tikal we stayed at the Tikal Inn. It is a very pleasant picturesque place and less expensive than the other hotels. However, this trip we chose to stay at the Jungle Lodge. It has beautifully landscaped grounds, a nice gift shop, and very nice accommodations. The staff at the front desk of the Jungle Lodge was friendly and helpful. By contrast the food and the staff of the restaurant was horrible. Bad food, rude wait staff, and worst of all a 10% tip was automatically included on the bill. We enjoyed everything about the Jungle Lodge except for the restaurant. The second day we walked down the road to a small open air restaurant called the Comedor Tikal. The food was simple but very tasty, much less expensive, and the staff friendly and polite. Well worth the walk.

Tikal is special. Everyone should visit Tikal some time in their life. Don’t miss it.

Video 4 - 2.59MB med res video clip of jungle listening to howler monkeys (good sound but poor images)

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Last Revised: December 15, 2007