EXPLORING TIKAL | GUATEMALA
Flores was the starting point of our planned trip to El Mirador - see the article here to know more - but we had a day to explore before the trek and decided to make it to the legendary site of Tikal which was only 1.5 hours drive from Flores.
Tikal is another major site of Maya civilization—its largest city during the Maya Classic period. A UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Guatemala’s first protected sites (Tikal National Park was established in 1955), Tikal in its heyday comprised ceremonial platforms, palaces, plazas, and towering temples that you can climb!
I was expecting to see the place very crowded but it felt like we were alone there. Los Amigos , the hostel where we stayed while in Flores, organized a Sunset tour and it was actually perfect time to go and wander around the park before watching the sunset on top of the Great Pyramid (main structure and astronomical observation tower). A city lost in time.
The most imposing structure of Tikal is the “Temple No 4” – the tallest of the city’s buildings. It is about 320 feet high – the equivalent of about 40 stories. The stairways and walls have been taken over by the forest so that only the upper part sticks out, untouched. Wooden stairs have been built along the sides so that visitors may climb to the top.
As we were there few days after the Vernal Equinox (Spring solstice which was and still is an important celestial event in the Mayan world) we met a group of beautiful local ladies dressed in traditional costumes and traveling from Guatemala city to Tikal for the occasion.
This entire visit felt like a surreal scene, feeling ancient powers, peace and harmony emanating from these structures.