We left San Ignacio by minibus and didn’t get too far before we were transferred to a safari bus, with no windows it was a bit chilly. Half an hour saw us through the border, paying a pound each to get back into Guatemala. In another minibus for an hour and a half we left the main road for Tikal. After a brief stop at the main gate, we continued on for a mile or so and checked into the Tikal Inn. A lovely lodge to the right of the pool. Reception told us the electricity was on twice a day over breakfast and dinner. We settled in and went to explore. After exploring, we returned for a quick dip and to cool our throbbing feet. Imagine my surprise when picking out and throwing leaves – as is my wont – one of them ran up my arm. A biggish cockroach, quite good swimmers they are, but not as good as the frog I disturbed in the corner. What with these creatures, we had to duck under the water every time a horsefly wanted a nip. Time for a stiff libation methinks skipper...............................
The site map at the entrance shows the area is huge. Bear suggested we start on the right and work back through the middle today and ‘do the left’ tomorrow. Sounds like a plan.
Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala, in the department of El Petén, part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 to 900 AD. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. There is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century AD. Following the end of the Late Classic Period, no new major monuments were built at Tikal and there is evidence that elite palaces were burned. These events were coupled with a gradual population decline, culminating with the site’s abandonment by the end of the 10th century.
Tikal is the best understood of any of the large lowland Maya cities, with a long dynastic ruler list, the discovery of the tombs of many of the rulers on this list and the investigation of their monuments, temples and palaces.
We spent the day bimbling around until our feet were extremely sore.
ALL IN ALL VERY IMPRESSIVE