I’m going out of order but Tikal really should be first. It was amazing, seriously. I knew it would be cool but I didn’t think I would be awestruck. I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves after the little blurb about Tikal I borrowed from Wikipedia.
Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 to 900 AD. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. There is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century AD. Following the end of the Late Classic Period, no new major monuments were built at Tikal and there is evidence that elite palaces were burned. These events were coupled with a gradual population decline, culminating with the site’s abandonment by the end of the 10th century.
Tikal is the best understood of any of the large lowland Maya cities, with a long dynastic ruler list, the discovery of the tombs of many of the rulers on this list and the investigation of their monuments, temples and palaces.
Our guide, Armando, decided that it was better to take shortcuts through the jungle than stick to the path since it was so hot and humid. I don’t think any of us would have braved the jungle without him.
The stairs to this thing are literally a ladder that goes straight up. Armando said that those who suffer from Vertigo should NOT go up. He said he himself had only been up twice. Once to check it out and once to help someone who got stuck up there. Micah decided to brave it.
Micah is the guy in the light blue shirt. He was up there for a couple minutes and decided to come down. He even said he was a little nervous. We were told people get up there and then burst into tears for fear of having to climb down. I’m SO GLAD I skipped this climb.
We thought that was it. We were ready to turn back. It was in the high 90s, humid and we had been walking for 4 hours. I think we each drank over 2 liters of water. Of course we had one last thing to see, the Great Plaza.
Tikal was amazing. I don’t think the pictures really convey how you really feel when you are there. Micah’s a history teacher, so I knew he’d love this but I didn’t know I’d feel the same way. I’ve never been so hot in my life and never so overwhelmed (in a good way) by history. Did you know that only 20% of the site has been excavated? Blew our my minds! Can you imagine what this place looked like in all it’s glory?
So to recap. Tikal = Amazing! It was worth the heat. We don’t usually do guides but I ‘m glad we did here. Armando was a wealth of knowledge. He grew up in the area and has been working at the park for 10 years, 4 years as a guide. His English is great and he’s pretty funny too.
We still have pictures from the lake/highlands, the crazy market and Antigua to share.