Tikal – Guatemala
Travel back in time and see the remnants of the great Mayan civilization in the abandoned ancient city of Tikal. Once the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya, the remnants are now designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for their cultural significance. This protects the impressive pyramids, palaces and temples which now serve as gateways into the ancient rituals and practices of the Mayan people. The Great Plaza is the focal point of the ruins and was the centre of activities for the Mayans. It’s collection of remains is the most complete, with various temples and alters creating a truly inspiring place. The Lost World complex is a similarly inspiring ruin, which homes the oldest visible building, the ancient Great Pyramid. Away from searching the ruins, Tikal is also a striking National Park, due to its surrounding of lush rainforest. This allows for great trails and the chance to see some of the incredible tropical wildlife, such as Spider and Howler Monkeys, numerous Tropical Birds and, if you’re really lucky, Jaguars.
Where is it?
Tikal lies in the extreme north of Guatemala in Central America. Guatemala itself lies to the south of Mexico and also borders Belize and Honduras.
What is it?
Tikal is one of the largest and most impressive archaeological sites of the Mayan civilization, as well as a designated National Park and UNESCO World Heritage site. Decades of work have uncovered most of the major buildings, but a good portion of the original city is still awaiting excavation and archaeologists can still be seen unearthing ruins around the site.
Best time to visit?
Guatemala is almost always hot and humid, given its tropical Central American location. November to March give the most pleasant conditions, with average temperatures around 26 degrees, as opposed to the summer highs of 32 and increased humidity levels.
Temple IV is one of the most impressive and well-visited temples, and a rousing climb up wooden steps will allow you to reach its stunning vantage point above the rainforest. The top platform reveals an incredible view of the entire site, with temples breaking through the rainforests canopy. Sitting at 212 feet, it is one of the tallest pre-Columbian structures still standing in Mesoamerica.