Guatemala was never on our list of must do countries. As we were visiting the Yucatán in Mexico, with a short stay in Belize, we researched the most beautiful Maya Ruins and Tikal was one of them. So after arriving in Belize City we were transported to San Ignacio. We stayed in the Midas Resort only 13 km away from the Guatemalan border.
After a fairly early start – our transport’s 4×4 refused to start but he managed to find another – we arrived at the border between Belize and Guatemala, Melchor de Mencos. Customs took us maybe 40 minutes in total as there were quite a few people and lots of vehicles parked in any way you can think. A luxury van waited for us and after buying our tickets to Tikal, we were off. The countryside was beautiful and charming. We passed Lago Petén Itzá, the second largest lake in Guatemala, 32 km long x 5 km wide.
Tikal National Park is located in Northern Guatemala’s Petén Province within a large, lush forest region sometimes referred to as the Maya Forest. Tikal was a major Pre-Columbian political, economic and military centre and is one of the most important archeological complexes left by Maya civilization. Tikal is a Unesco World Heritage site and its most striking feature is its towering, steep-sided temples in a magnificent jungle setting. The panoramic view from Temple IV is absolutely magnificent. Plazas and temples, cleared of trees and vines, have been partially restored. As you visit the sites remember to step softly beneath the dense canopy. You might meet up with Howler and Spider monkeys or even a school of Agoutis. Enjoy the loamy aromas of moist earth and vegetation. Be sure to spot the Tree of Life, a truly beautiful tree!
After experiencing the rich Maya heritage, the diverse cultures and the lush surrounds, we decided Guatemala will become a new, maybe daunting, but definitely exciting adventure.