Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tikal, but first, Another Border Crossing

In order to guarantee a hassle-free speedy trip from from St Ignacio, Belize to Tikal in Guatemala we eschewed public transport and paid for a private transfer. Speedy it was, hassle free, no.

In short, Sun-Ling bargained down the suggested "bribe" to enter Guatemala from 3 US$ each to 1 US$ each. Another Spanish language lesson. [Oficially, US citizens should pay no fee to enter Guatemala.]

Tikal is considered to be among the most impressive of the Mayan ruins. John was impressed. Sun-Ling was only so impressed. haha. [See the photos below.]

Impressed or not, we both enjoyed navigating around the site, climbing the ruins, viewing wildlife and watching the local and foreign visitors. Our visit to Tikal was on a Sunday when admission is free for Guatemalans, so at noon, the old Grand Plaza of the Mayans was the site of more than several modern picnics.

Tikal National Park is a vast jungle preserve (over 200 square miles) so we saw and heard vultures, hawks, 2 pale-billed woodpeckers, ocellated turkeys, hummingbird, many other birds, butterflies, spider and howler monkeys, a deer, a grey fox, an unknown large rodent, and the ubiquitous coatis.

We spent the night inside the National Park at the Tikal Inn which allowed us to spend more time in the ruins - leaving after dark with flashlights in hand - and to take short walk in the morning before leaving for Flores.

The two of us in front of Temple I.
Tikal, Guatemala

Sun-Ling descending a Group R pyramid.
Tikal, Guatemala

View from Temple IV to to Temple I and Temple II.
Tikal, Guatemala

Temple I is at the eastern end of the Grand Plaza.
Tikal, Guatemala

Temple I (right) and the Grand Plaza.
Tikal, Guatemala

The Central Acropolis with Temple V sticking up in the back.
Tikal, Guatemala

Sunset view of the Grand Plaza.
Tikal, Guatemala

11 comments:

jaydro said...

So now that you've been to Yavin IV, I'm trying to remember if you visited Tatooine while in Tunisia. Or did you visit Tunisia...? ;-)

Okay, I'm just jealous. I must go to Tikal some day.

john said...

J - Have not been to Tunisia ;-)Tikal is pretty cool and one could spend days there doing sunrise and sunset tours, the main site tour, special archaeological tours, surrounding sites (still in Tikal), surrounding Mayan ruins in Peten, bird watching, canopy tours, not to mention Flores (look for our next post).

Dayle In NC said...

Great photos and description. I'm remembering things I had forgotten. And from jadro, learning something I never knew -- the Tikal connection to Star Wars. I look forward to your post about Flores. Tengan cuidado! A word of caution, the bus station on other side of bridge had a very bad reputation, especially in early hours. A kind older local woman made me promise to take a taxi instead of walk there and said she would never permit a family member to walk there on their own.

Dayle In NC said...

I just re-read your blog entry and now I remember the coatis. Aren't they cool running around with their tails straight up?! Los monos (or los changos as my Mexican clients call them) were neat too and the turkeys were colorful (though I heard people calling them pavo real which confused me as pavo real should be a peacock).

Anonymous said...

national park and ruin, i like that combination. it's on our list to go thanks to your info. you're moving fast, already country #3. --weiqing

Sun-Ling said...

@Dayle, I didn't even think the photos were that good. The grand plaza was much more impressive, but difficult to capture.

Sun-Ling said...

@WQ, I am replying to you from country #4, on the 10th day of our travels!
The main reason that we are moving so fast is that the weather has been hot and sticky, not my kind of weather for touring or wanting to linger.

jaydro said...

Wow, I thought the photos of Tikal were great; been waiting for them to show up on Flickr....

Sun-Ling said...

@Dayle, I only liked Guajolote Ocelado o Pavo de Monte o Pavo Ocelado. They are beautiful. The coatis are racoons and I saw them going for garbage cans, ugh!

Kathleen cusick said...

I stayed in a covered hammock a couple nights when I visited Tikal--the howler monkeys made sleep erratic. It was worth it to watch the parrots take flight from El Mundo Perdido at sunrise...

Sun-Ling said...

Good to hear from you, Kathleen!

Howler monkeys sound very eerie to me. They were going at it during the day too! Your exuberance is impressive, hammock & sunrise! What kind of parrots did you see? We have not seen any green parrots on this trip so far, Tikal or anywhere else.