After 4 days in Rio Dulce we forced ourselves to move (always very hard) and headed to El Remate - a tiny village in the North not far from Tikal. The Mayan ruins of Tikal are a huge tourist attraction and nearly every visitor that goes to Guatemala will inevitably go there. The area of El Peten that Tikal is in is also a bit more the Guatemala we were expecting. The site is considered to be one of the most important Mayan sites and the ruins are situated within the Tikal National Park - a massive preserve that contains literally thousands of ancient structures.
Originally, Tikal the city, was about 16sq km and had more than 4,000 structures within it! The wonderful quality of Tikal is not only the 'hugeness' of it all (to see the main pyramids you need to walk about 10 km around the whole area), but the fact that it's all in the jungle. Some of the pyramids rise above the jungle canopy and we were rewarded with an amazing view when we climbed up one of the temples.
On the day of our visit we got up at the crack of dawn to get there super early in the hope of seeing the sunrise over the jungle - there is an incredible mist that hangs over the jungle in the morning and together with the howler monkeys that start very early it would have been an amazing experience. Except they don't let you in until 6 am - when the sun is already up - and we got lost in the jungle anyway trying to find the main Plaza of the ruins! However, that was a beautiful walk - very peaceful and still a bit misty and we still got to hear the monkeys going ballistic - they actually sound like lions when they all start.