The ancient & grand ruins of Tikal

Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Jun 26, 2010

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eventually I got bored of island paradise and then headed to Guatemala. This involved catching a ferry back to Belize City and then shuttle bus across the border and to Flores. The shuttle bus was simple affair, slightly larger than a minibus but not as large as a coach or as uncomfortable as a chicken bus (which are old US school buses). My only companions on the bus ride were a couple from Aruba and an American guy. At the border we had to again pay around $20 USD departure tax and then another $20 USD arrival tax to the Guatemalan border control. Man it gets expensive crossing these borders!

We arrived in Flores in the early afternoon and myself and the American guy went and checked into the Los Amigos hostel. Los Amigos is a great little hostel setup by a Dutch guy and his Guatemalan wife. The hostel also has a great restaurant attached which serves mainly vegetarian food at very good prices. It was great to get some healthy food for a change so I thoroughly enjoyed my vegetarian lasagna and salad. Flores is a nice island in a beatuful lake in northern Guatemala. The island is completely developed and does not have much to it, however its claim to fame is its vicinity to Tikal an ancient Mayan ruin.

Tikal was first settled and built up between 4BC-900AD and then mysteriously vacated. The local guides believe that it was abandoned because there were no fresh water sources located nearby and relied on sinkholes dug to collect rainwater. A few years of drought coupled with some sort of toxic algae bloom and the water would have been undrinkable. Anyway I booked myself onto an early morning tour which required me to get up at 4am and then myself and a few others were driven out to Tikal and we began our tour of the ruins. They were by far the most impressive Mayan ruins that I had seen with some of the towers reaching over 70 metres in height. On our way into the ruins we saw many local birds including Toucans and other local animals such as ant eaters and small rodent like creatures. We also saw some spider moneys and heard the quite horrifying roar of howler monkeys. It was hot and humid work though and by midday when the sun had finally burnt off the last of the mists it became unbearably hot. So after climbing our last temple we chilled out had some beers before heading back to our bus which would take us back to Flores.

That evening was very quiet since the hostel is mainly geared to Tikal day trips there are many people getting up for the early morning tours. Due to this and the fact that there was not much else to do in town, the hostel pretty much died after 10pm. I got an early night in preparation for my trip the next day to Lanquin.
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