pyramids poke above the jungle's green canopy to catch
the sun. Howler monkeys, swing noisily through the branches
of ancient trees as brightly colored parrots and toucans
dart from perch to perch in a cacophony of squawks.
When the complex warbling song of some mysterious jungle
bird tapers off, the buzz of the tree frogs provides
background noise and it will dawn on you that this is
indeed hallowed ground.
Certainly the most striking feature of Tikal is its
steep -sided temples, rising to heights of more than
44m. But Tikal is different from Chichen Itzá,
Uxmal, Copán and most other great Mayan sites
because it is fairly deep in the jungle. Its many plazas
have been cleared of trees and vines, its temples uncovered
and partially restored, but as you walk from one building
to another you pass beneath the dense canopy of the
rain forest. Rich, loamy smells of earth and vegetation,
a peaceful air and animal noises all contribute to an
experience not offered by other, readily accessible
you visit from December to February except some cool
nights and mornings, March and April are hottest and
driest months. The rains begin in May or June, and with
them come the mosquitoes - bring rain gear, repellent
and if, you plan on slinging a hammock, a mosquito net.
July to September is muggy and buggy. October and November
see the end of the occasional rains and return to cooler
temperatures; this may be the best time weatherwise
- for a Tikal Visit.
PARK is open from 6:00 am. to 6:00 pm.
Day trips by air from Guatemala City to Tikal are available
with VISION TRAVEL AGENCY (landing in Flores/Santa Elena)
are popular, as they allow you to get glimpse of this
spectacular site in the shortest possible time. Still,
the site is so big that you need at least two days to
see even the mayor parts toughly.
in set is a low hill, which becomes evident as you walk
up to the Great Plaza from the entry road. The hill,
affording relief from the surrounding low lying swampy
ground, may be why the Maya settled here around 700
BC. Another reason was the abundance of flint, the valuable
stone used by the ancients to make clubs, spear points,
arrowheads and knives. The wealth of flint meant good
tools could be made, and flint could be exported in
the exchange for other goods. Within 200 years the Maya
of Tikal had begun to build stone ceremonial structures
and by 200 BC there was a complex of buildings on the
site of the North Acropolis.