TikalJanuary 10 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C
Today, we explored the famous Maya ruins of Tikal. We had booked transport at 5:30am, the earliest collectivo possible, in order to have the most of the jungle life and avoid the heat.
Here, we experienced alternative means of earning money at its best. From El Remate to the ruins, it's about 30km. The collectivo stops after 13km, the entrance to the National Park. Usually, the tourists have to get out of the bus and wait in line at the ticket office which opens at 6am. But what a coincidence - Samuel came to the bus and told us he had some spare tickets he could sell us, so we don't have to queue. We and the other 7 people in our van were already wondering how much more he wanted to charge us for speeding up the process, but the price was the official amount written on the ticket office as well. Weird... When he came back with the tickets, we saw they were not dated for today and names were (of course) not ours. We asked him about this and he informed us we don't have to worry as tickets are valid for a month and names don't matter. Our bus driver seemed to be alright with our deal, so all of us just paid. And Samuel was right - 10m further, a park officer checked the tickets very thoroughly (but no IDs), took some notes and let us pass. We continued to the entrance to the ruins where we got off and walked to another checkpoint. Here, they just took the tickets, didn't look at them and put them into a drawer. Interesting network for reselling foreign visitors' tickets...
Anyways, we were in the park and had plenty of time to check out the temples and climb the pyramids. Very impressive in the middle of the jungle!! We also watched the animals, saw monkeys, parrots, toucans, ant-eaters and many other birds and really enjoyed the site with surprisingly few tourists.
At 2pm, our bus took us back to El Remate where we went for a swim in the lagune like lake. We met David (Spain), Dorian (Australia), Jude and Whitney (both US) at the boardwalk and shared some beers and travel stories. When we were going to get more beers, Mito, a local, arrived on his kayak and offered to sell us his beers. Coincidence? No idea, but the beer was cold and the price was the same as in the supermarket. Maybe he forgot to add some money as he was already drunk 😉 Anyways, he joined us for a chat and let the local kids use his kayak. So we were a fun group altogether and only split after the beautiful sunset.Read more