Friday we visited Tikal. It was about an hour’s bus ride north of Flores. The closer we got the more the jungle closed in on us. The park that encompasses Tikal covers more than 300 sq miles and is much like one of our National Parks. They are trying to keep everything as pristine as possible. We walked many miles through the jungle from temple to temple, plaza to plaza and to be honest there is no way to convey the magnitude and grander of this astonishing place in one small e-mail. Here is a clip from a travel brochure.
Within the Tikal National Park of Guatemala's northern Petén region, rest the impressive Mayan ruins of Tikal. Tikal is the largest excavated site among all the ruined Mayan cities and arguably Guatemala's most prized cultural gem. Both magical and spiritual, Tikal encourages the imagination to wander and incites the desire to explore. Towering above the jungle canopy, the great Mayan temples of Tikal are among the tallest examples, the loftiest reaching nearly 230 feet. While some of the earliest Mayan ruins at Tikal date as far back as the 4th century BC, the city didn't reach its zenith until some 500 years later during the Mayan Classic Era (2nd century AD-10th century AD). Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tikal Mayan ruins attract curious investigators of all sorts, who come to marvel at their existence.
It took over a hundred years for the best minds to realize and then decipher the Mayan written language. One thing they learned was the Mayan used the concept of the zero in mathematics several hundred years before it was used in the old world. The list of what they did goes on and on. Just to comprehend what we learned in our short stay will take months. Have fun - buy a book and learn just how outstanding the Mayan were.
After a lunch in the park with Howler Monkeys high above, yelling at each other and a troupe of Coti Mundi, with their long tails raised high, trooping through the parking lot, we headed back to Flores.
We took a short rest and a swim in the sparking swimming pool overlooking the lake then boarded a boat for a sunset cruse on Lake Pete’n. We had the pleasure of watching a fabulous sunset in the west as the full moon rose up over the eastern horizon. It was dark by the time we disembarked and the full moon was reflecting off the lake. From the dock on the north shore we walked through the island city of Flores to the far side and a restaurant on the lake. For dinner we each had a large whole fish from the lake while a group of young Guatemalan’s were having a party at the next table. That age group seemed to know how to have fun no matter where they are from.