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Peps and Pete Travels "On pleasure bent again"

The kingdom of the Maya

GUATEMALA | Tuesday, 27 February 2007 | Views [1470]

The primary reason for our visit to Flores, was to take a day trip to the ruins of Tikal. To us it was just a bonus that the village of Flores was so nice. It is a little penninula which just into Lake Peten Itza and which is connected to the mailand by a 500m strip that is the width of a road. In fact, it may have originally been an island, with the road added later. It was really nice, we walked the whole way around the edge of the island in 45 mins ( a leisurely stroll!). We booked ourselves on to a tour of the ruins and spent the rest of the day exploring the cobbled streets of flores.

We were again messed around buy a bus which came an hour later than scheduled, but it all worked out alright in the end, so I am not going to get into it.

Tikal is different to most other Mayan sites because it is set deep in the jungle. Tikal was ´discovered´in 1848, although everyone is pretty sure that the locals knew it was there earlier, but kept its existence hidden from the looting and marauding spanish conquistadors. The site is 64 km/sq, although the part that has been excavated, the part which we visited, is only 4 km/sq, or 1/16th of the site. We went on a 4 hour walking tour with a really incredible guide who, while knowing alot about the Maya, also talked to us about the traditional healing quality of the jungle plants and gave me the best cure for mozzie bite itch I´ve come across! he also took us off he trail to see some holwer monkeys, but unfortunatley we were unable to find the ¨fire snake´so called because its venome makes you feel linke you´re on fire. Darn, so sorry we missed out on that!

The location of these ruins in the jungle, lends a rather impressive stature to the ruins, this is compunded by the fact that the Maya were obviously such an advanced culture. We were told that their calculation of time was in fact more accurate than present day watches! When you are confronted by the ruins, you realise that they must have been an incredible society to be able to build such impressive structres, and that they did not use slaves to do so, all the people worked of their own accord.

Some of the temples reach heights of 44m - and we certainely felt it when we were climbing them. They have provided ladders now, as many tourists died trying to climb the Mayan stairs which ascend the front of the temples.

One tip to anyone wanting to go, do the sunrise tour. Yes it leaves at 3:30am (which put us off), but we got out there at 11am, and it was so hot, 4 hours walking in the heat and humidity was pretty hard going. The sunrise tour is finished by 11am! 

Tikal is a majestic and awe inspiring place. The sight of limestone temples rising up through the canopy of the jungle is one that I can´t adequatley describe. Unfortunatley we were low on camera batttery, and so we only have a few pics, but I think they do Tikal better justice than I ever could.

Tags: Sightseeing

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