Flores Travel Blog› entry 1 of 4 › view all entries
March 28th, 2009 – by: debsadams1979
The little island was to be our base for the next three days to visit the legendary Mayan ruins at Tikal, approx 60km away but more on that later.
After shunning the initial offer of a tour to Tikal with out taxi driver from the airport we went to a tour agency to see if we could overnight stay so when could see sunrise and sunset, but none seemed forthcoming (mostly due to the lack of people that seemed to be around in Flores), however we did manage to get ourselves onto a tour that would allow us to arrive for sun rise and get all day in the park and hopefully see some of the jungle wildlife.
Next day we decided to check out the small town of El Remante, halfway between Flores and Tikal. It is such an idyllic little place, consisting of only a few roads, set further north on the lake than Flores, which we almost missed as our driver had decided we were going to Tikal a day early before I piped up and we hoped off the buss some 2km out of town. Due to its low population this end of the lake remains pristine and youÂ´d be forgiven for thinking that you were gazing out onto the waters of the Caribbean or the like. Its also renowned for its wood carvings and we were hoping to avoid getting ripped off by the gift shop-museum at Tikal and pick up some Mayan god wood carvings. After some bum directions from the LP and locals alike we finally found the few artisans shops in the village, although the quality was unlike anything else I have seen on my travels the price were pretty steep, some of them $100 plus.
can say is hindsight is a bitch!
We made it back to Flores a little easier than weÂ´d arrived and headed to one of LP's recommended eateries, Cafe La Luna, the food was great and the staff we super friendly and gave us a shot of some rum like substance at the end of the meal....although the free shot may owe to a mix up between Joel and myself which meant the waiter got a 50Qz (about 4 pounds) tip!
My trip was about to get a kick in the guts (almost literally) when about an hour before we were due to get up to got to Tikal I started to feel really sick and had the worst stomach ache. After getting up and making it onto the bigger bus to Tikal things got even worse when our bus driver decided that he was going to drive like he was in a Hollywood car chase with the end result being me losing last nights dinner all over the bus and onto the grass verge - the poor girl in the front seat had a full view, I was so embarrassed.
We had a really great guide for the day, who spoke fantastic English, after me running to the bushes to be sick, again, he started to show us around the park pointing out different species of plant and animal life. We even got to watch a group of Spider monkeys chase each other through the trees. This is definitely one of the best things about Tikal, there is still a great amount of wildlife running though the place. The main reason for this being that huge sections of Tikal are still not excavated and in cased in the jungle. Only about 20% of it is actually uncovered. It was nuts to walk past these huge mounds of dirt that contain Mayan temples beneath them.
ground they are under and not exposed to the elements that can further damage them. So, after watching some Pixote's (raccoon-like animals) dig for tarantulas, we continued our hike through the park.
As much as the entire day was a struggle due to my lack of well being, I was determined to soldier on and get the most out of my trip, also I didn't want to ruin things for Joel. In between, slowly, climbing to the top of soaring Mayan pyramids to view other parts of the complex poking through the jungle canopy, I paid tribute to my very own porcelain god at temples 1, 2 and 5.
The crowing pinnacle of the park is the Grand Plaza, which houses two of the most amazing pyramids, the most important of which is the Temple of the Grand Jaguar, and several of the royal palaces, a small Ball Court (a life or death gladiatorial affair played by the Mayans - Joel tells me the one at the Mexican site of Chichan Itza is massive!) and a few excavated Mayan stone heads.
The guide disappeared mid-morning leaving us to snap away like Japanese tourists and also to explore the most remote temple of the site, Temple VI - Temple of Inscriptions, the 1.2km hike was more than worth it as this proved to be one of our favourite sections of the site as its one of the few pyramids with any detail left on it.
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