Tikal Travel Guide

Browse 14 travel reviews, 31 travel blogs and 2,331 travel photos from real travelers to Tikal.

People Traveling to Tikal

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Tikal Overview

As a secluded, difficult to get to jungle town full of ancient Mayan architecture, Tikal is a great spot to visit, off the beaten track yet every bit as impressive as the more internationally known spots like the Chichen Itza in Mexico. Here in Guatemala, the temples are still being uncovered under the protection of UNESCO, and date back more than 1000 years. Archeologists believe Tikal was probably the biggest Mayan city ever built.

Glyphs adorn the walls, huge open grassy plazas surrounded by monumentally massive stone structures seem to dominate every clearing, and in many ways – hills aside – Tikal reminds of the abandoned city of Macchu Pichu in Peru. It’s certainly one for the holiday snaps, almost surreal in its scenery and hiding everything form sacrificial alters to delicately carved support stones called stellae. Not to mention the seemingly endless tombs and the near-mythical stories that have been extracted from the history of this place, which is better understood than any other Mayan settlement, in part because of the impressive preservation.

Of course, the Mayan Architecture is by far the biggest attraction, with steep, stepped, pyramid temples such as the Jaguar Temple littered across the jungle. Follow the forested trails through the large city, which was overgrown for many years and has now been cleared to the extent that you’ll find the best buildings standing in amongst clearings. A slightly tacky visitor center gives a basic overview of the history, while a company has recently started running canopy tours across the treetops, too, taking in the jungle from a sliding seat.

The best way to visit the site is by dropping in from nearby Flores, though it’s also located impressively close to the border with Belize, making a quick day trip into the English-speaking neighbor well worth the visa hassle. Most of all, though, you’ll love seeing the Mayan aspects of the site without the endless streams of tourists, a history lover’s paradise.

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