Early Early mornings. We had to be at the airport in Guatemala City by 5:30am to make our flight to Tikal. Grandpa dropped us off since he wouldn’t be making this part of the journey with us. The flight over was on a small plane and that combined with a lot of wind and no breakfast proved to be a bit much for mom and Jeff. Both got quite queasy. Lucky for us about 15 min after we landed the rain stopped and didn’t start again till that evening when we were leaving!
It was a little drive from the airport to the actual ruins of Tikal. We rested, stopped once for a drink and so dad could buy a hat, and we were there in no time!
From first glance when we got out of the car you didn’t see much. I’m not sure if I was expecting the ruins to be right off the parking lot or what. There was a pretty little lake, and then a trail that we started out on. We took a short stop at one point to see some howler monkeys. Talk about an eerie sound!
Then there it was, through the trees, around a corner and a massive stone temple jetted up in front of our eyes. Jeff was great to explain so many little things to us. We watched some birds for a while in the trees and then Bryan and I decided to tackle the stairs to the top of the temple. One is blocked off, and they no longer allow you to climb up the front (too many people fell Jeff said) but they have built some stairs up the side so you can still go to the top. They were very steep, but the view was spectacular.
While there we did a LOT of walking, a few miles we counted, and that’s not including all the stairs we climbed. The hardest one was temple IV. It’s the tallest and the view… well call me a dork but it reminded me of Star Wars. Mom kept wanting to see speeders racing through the trees. George Lucas sure found a great spot for an amazing view. Those of you that don’t understand… in one of the Star Wars movies the view from the top of Temple IV is used. At the top you see some of the other temples jetting up out of the rain forest. The Tikal temples are used a few times in the Star Wars movies actually. They are huge, it’s truly humbling and makes you feel quite small. From the top Jeff pointed out that you can also see as far as Belize in one direction and Mexico in another. The man power it must have taken to build such a structure is astounding.
The last temples we saw were called “lost world”. I didn’t hike up this one but chose to sit and talk with grandma instead. My pictures are not the best quality but one of them is dad, half way up. Apparently the scary thing about this one wasn’t going up, but coming down. Mom said she hit a point where there weren’t stairs and she had to shift a bit. I couldn’t help but wonder how long they will let tourist’s climb all over these amazing ruins. It can’t be good for preserving them.
After we finally made it back to the front of the park we had an amazing lunch. Well as my grandfather says “The best sauce for food, is hunger.” We had walked a lot, hiked a lot, and yet we had not really ever eaten any breakfast. That little piece of chicken, with rice and veggies was very welcomed. Probably the best I’ve tasted, then again I was really hungry. 😉
Just outside of the entry to the park there is a place that offers ‘Canopy Tours’. I was a bit nervous about this one but Bryan and mom convinced me to go. They strap you into a harness, give you gloves and then you climb up a tree. Almost at the top of the tree there is a small platform (imagine Dad, Mom, Bryan, 2 tour guides, and I). There is also a cable that runs off into the jungle. Well they give you some short instructions and then hook you up to the cable and gently push you off. The first time it was so scary. The first zip line also took you right over the main road so that was a bit frightening as well. When you landed on the next platform you climb up the tree some more to the next wire and continue. By the 2nd time I was laughing so hard. To see the Jungle like this is truly spectacular. We all had such a great time, and on the last one the guide would bounce our wire, scary but really fun. I wanted to scream but couldn’t because I was laughing so hard.
This day was truly one of my favorite on the entire trip. If anyone is going to Guatemala I would encourage you to spend the extra time and money to make this trip to Tikal. I wish Jeremy could have been able to stay the one extra day to go, but I guess that’s just more reason to return again some day.
We flew back home in the early evening and Grandpa was waiting for us at the airport. My abs started to hurt within a few hours and to be honest they are still sore, but it’s my own fault. On those zip lines I’d stop just short of the platforms and have to pull myself up on them, apparently a good workout for your abs.