|I am determined to do Guatemala better than I did it last time thus to fill in the details to my trip, I planned my first trip to the lost Mayan city of Tikal in Petén. I know I am again pressed with time so I didn’t want to play around at all. I bought a round trip plane ticket for the same night I arrived in Guatemala City heading up north to Tikal. This left me with a 6 hour layover filled with boredom in La’Aurora international airport.
After 6 miserable hours, a 50 minute flight and a 15 minute taxi ride, I arrived in my hostel for the night. One thing I picked up in Cuba was that if you want to travel cheap, you must be willing to sacrifice sleep and in some cases, comfort. This led me to sign up for the tour bus departing for tikal (an hour away) at 4:30am. This was a real bummer. Keep in mind I had to wake up and begin my travelsat 3:00am the day before. I was running on pure fumes at this moment but I had too much at stake not to wake up.
Tikal is the location of the Mayans most extensively developed city. I was abandoned by the mayans for reasons unknown currently but speculations and researchers say it was probably abandoned due to over population or a wrongly interpreted messaged from the gods. Tikal and its past glory has always been known to people who study mayan history but its exact location remained hidden until it was discovered accidentally by a group of hunters. The government of Guatemala in partnership with other foreign governments then began exploring the ruins and later named it was named a UNESCO heritage site. They began to uncover temples, houses and artifacts engulfed by the rain forest due to several years of inactivity. It is said the only 20% of Tikal has currently been uncovered due to funding and fear that once uncovered, the acid rain of the forest will destroy the ruins. In the local Mayan language of Kiche, Tikal means echo and this is the best word to describe the nature of all Mayan constructions. The Mayans used advanced astrology and architecture for all their buildings that way when standing in front of one of their temples a clap will echo throughout the city. No one knows if this was done on purpose or not but a clap produces an echo which sounds like the noise made by Guatemala’s national bird, the quetzal.
Tikal was worth it and I am glad I got to visit it even though I already feel like I could have planned better and maybe rode a 4 hour bus to check out Belize City or spent more time in Petén. It is a full blown tourist town which makes it safer than Guatemala City and there was a wide selection of places for great food.
Next stop: Xela