El Tikal Trip  - Guatemala 2011

Ever want to be on an episode of Survivor? Well, this is the place to do it!

Tikal is a national park in the Peten region of Guatemala. It is an archaeologial site where they have been excavating Mayan ruins. You have to use your imagination to think about what it would look like hundreds of years ago when there were 100,000 Mayans living in this area, and all the hills were buildings, marketplaces, and temples.

This was the strongest spider web I've ever felt. It felt like fishing line for sailfish. You definitely wouldn't want to walk through it. You notice how I make Steve test it while I take the pictures!

The tall temples are only for worship or viewing of the royalty. All the lower buildings are the homes and community buildings. What I found exciting was the lack of any safety concerns so you could walk anywhere you wanted, and climb to the top of just about any building. The steps up were about as wide as your shoe sideways so it was not for the faint of heart.

It was interesting that the guide said that there was little evidence found of a lower class in the Mayan society. Most of the people appeared to be high society and a merchant class in some areas. I don't know if that meant that the society was so developed that everyone lived well, or that the lower class had so little they had nothing to leave for evidence.

The howler and spider monkeys were out and Steve had to do his howler monkey impression. If you've never heard them, they are loud and scary in their efforts to make you go away. They always say, "Oh, they're more scared of you than you are of them" but to hear them you might feel otherwise.

This is what the temples look like when they find them, more or less a hill covered in trees and grass that turn out to be buildings underneath. It is super expensive to try and restore these places and takes years to do even a little bit as it is all done by hand.


You don't have to live in Georgia to find cicadas.These are just the empty shells but they look like an army crawling up the tree.

Hopefully you can get a little perspective of the heights of the tree and temples with Steve as your guide in the picture. If anything ever does happen to Steve, I'll probably have a picture of it.

You look out across the jungle and you see the stone temples poking up through the trees. It is wild to think about the days when the Mayan kings would survey their domain and I'm guessing commune with their gods as they had to have felt close to them at this height. It reminded me of the tower of Babble as each place was higher than the last, seemingly trying to reach closer to the heavens.

Every trip has a variety of sites and insects. We stayed in Flores, an island town that was very peaceful and quaint, but still had a Burger King if you needed a cheap meal.

  It could just be me, but I thought the stones looked like Mayan indian faces.

This was our ride to the airport. The little cars are called tuctucs and are just plain fun!

Here is my wildlife montage. Below is a yellow woodpecker which I hadn't seen before. The coatimundi were a huge troop that scampered right by us in the park. Again, where else can you go and just stumble into nature with no disclaimers?
My word for anyone thinking about visiting Tikal would be 'repellent' to ensure a fun trip. There are Mayan ruins all over Guatemala, including the second ruins we visited at Yaxha. This was the park where they actually filmed an episode of Survivor and our guide was on the crew so he was telling us all about it.