The most spectacular site in Guatemala, Tikal’s mysterious pyramids and temples lie hidden in dense jungle in the northern region of El Peten, close to the border with Belize. The vast complex of ancient ruins is one of the best-preserved of all Mayan sites and its location in the heart of a hostile jungle is extraordinary.
Our local guide will paint a picture of Mayan life for you as you explore Tikal’s tunnels, towering pyramids, chambers, ball courts and stone carvings, showcasing the architectural ingenuity of the Mayan civilisation. You don’t have to be a geologist or historian to appreciate the spectacular feat of Tikal – spend some time sitting at the clearing of the Grand Plaza, letting the atmosphere sink in and taking in its stunning structures, shrouded in mystery. Some pyramids, the tallest of which protrude above the forest canopy, can be climbed for a wonderful vantage point, where you’ll spot other pyramids in the distance, gauging just how vast an imperious the city would have been in the height of Mayan rule. Visiting at sunrise is a very special experience, where you’re spoiled with the most amazing views above the treetops, and the haunting sound of Howler monkeys swooping through the canopy below.
As you explore you’ll notice lots of large mounds under the earth where many more structures are yet to be excavated (archaeology is a slow and expensive process, so these are left un-exposed to ensure their preservation). Technology advances have recently discovered a vast Mayan metropolis deep in the jungle, hidden underground for centuries.
We arrange ‘glamping’ near Tikal for an immersive forest experience, and it’s worth visiting the nearby sacred Mayan site of Uaxactun in conjunction with Tikal – the two sites are very different and seeing both gives a more rounded understanding of the Mayan world.