Trekking through TikalMay 23 in Guatemala
One of the main reasons for most tourists to stop in Flores is to visit the Mayan ruins at Tikal. We avoided taking a tour and opted to download the audio guide instead, which allowed us to go at our own place (and probably more historically-based than most tour guides, in our experience). The bus from Flores took about an hour and a half, but, before we set off, we heard some familiar accents at the back of the bus – we were accompanied by fellow Australians from the Sunshine Coast who had travelled through Canada and Mexico.
Tikal is situated in the middle of the jungle, which once covered the Mayan ruins. It is considered to be one of the largest urban areas of the Mayans, although new sites are being found all the time. It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 structures in the area, many of which still need to be excavated. It is believed that the Mayans may have called the site Yax Mutal and that the area was occupied at least from the fourth century BCE, reaching its “golden era” during 200 CE to 900 CE. Most of the surviving structures were built by two main Mayan rulers, father and son, Hasaw Chan Kawil and Yikin Chan Kawil, the latter seemingly wanting to outdo his predecessor. The whole complex is massive and can barely be completed in five hours. After about 20 kilometres of walking/jogging and visiting most of the excavated ruins, except for the Group H pyramids, we returned to Flores on the same bus we started out on. Ricky needed his rest so he could continue playing Indiana Jones the following day.
Next stop: Yaxhá
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