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Photos: Tikal

Tikal from the jungleContinuing on with the photo follow-up to our adventures so far. Here’s a look at the Mayan ruins of Tikal in the wilds of Peten, Guatemala. 

We arrived at 7 a.m. off of a packed mini-van of other tourists from the town of Flores. The first several hundred meters of trails with in the park wind through thick jungle and past some non-descript piles of rubble that remain from some of this civilization’s smaller buildings.  Then the trail bends and a gap in the forest lets in a bit more light and reveals this first peek at one of the half-dozen or so ten-story temples that stretch to the top of the forest canopy…
(Photos by Johanna DeBiase)

Round the corner and you’re thrust out into the midst of the grand plaza, flanked by Tikal’s two iconic Temples I and II.  Rickety wooden stair jut out from the side of Temple I, allowing for a hair-rising climb to the top, where the leaders of this civilization stood hundreds of years ago.

 

 

 

Temple II

Rounding out the four sides of the grand plaza are the North and South Acropolis. You can see the remains of the Northern structures below:

Temple 2

It can be tough to leave the awesome presence of the plaza, but another hike through the forest and an incredibly steeo climb gets you to the top of Tikal’s pyramid, and a stunning vista of the entire park. I’m the goober waving on the right.

Pyramid

On the way back to the main entrance gate, you pass by the lonely, but huge Temple V. Another series of wooden steps that more closely resemble ladders provides a bird’s eye view of the bird’s eye view of the whole scene. This is truly something to write home about.

 

View from Temple V