Clapping Hands in the City of Sounds... Howler & Spider Monkeys, Wild Turkeys and Coatis.

Flores Travel Blog

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Some plant I found at our lunch pit stop... looks like a mini chili plant but in purple and orange!

The day we left Lanquin was the day after I drank possibly 4 double rum and cokes... needless to say I was not feeling "top of the morning" at 8am, when we were trying to figure out which shuttle we were supposed to be on and why on earth they were faffing around.  After about half an hour we finally left, only to stop just up the road, where we had to play musical shuttles again and wait around some more. 

When we finally did get going we stopped off in Coban so that people could go to the loo and get out money.  There are no ATMs in Lanquin and apparently a couple of girls had a bit of debt to pay off from their time spent in the area.  We waited about half an hour in this random car park, with these random loos and random snack shop while these girls argued over what they owed and how much cash they needed to withdraw.

Getting ready to get on to the barge to cross over on to Flores.
 

Once back on the road we stopped off for lunch, arriving in Flores late in the afternoon.  Flores is actually an island, and to access the island we had to cross a river on what looked like a barge on a pulley system.  We all had to get off the shuttle during the ride over, not sure why, but it gave us a chance to stretch our legs.  It seemed that everyone in the shuttle wanted to check out Los Amigos Youth Hostel, but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) when we got there it was full up so we had to go elsewhere.  It was kind of weird because as we arrived easily 8 backpackers were leaving, perhaps they had also just tried to check in.  Anyway, our driver recommended The Real Maya.

The Real Maya was a much quieter place, almost like mini apartments, and I was lucky enough to get my own room and bathroom for the same price as a dorm room at the Los Amigos.

Walking around Flores.
  We did go for drinks at Los Amigos and to eat - which was great, but it just made me happy to know that we weren't staying there... a very viby place - but typical of popular places we over heard conversations of people having suffered from bed bugs, stomach bugs and colds.  Eish.

Our first full day in Flores was an admin day, and gave us an opportunity to sort out our tour to Tikal - particularly as it's best to get to these larger Mayan ruins first thing in the morning to try and miss all the big tour buses.  Our shuttle to Tikal came at 4.30am, so I crazily got up at 3.30am for a shower... only to find that there was no water - it hadn't been turned on yet.  Argh.  I had hoped to catch up on some sleep on the shuttle, however a French traveler sitting opposite me decided to go in to 20 question mode at 4.

Tikal National Park
30am... yes... 4.30am.  It's quite normal to have random conversations with random travelers about where you've been, what you're doing and where are you are going... but at 4.30am?  Lucky Maree and Al were pretending to sleep, so saved themselves from getting involved.

We arrived at the Tikal Nature Reserve just before 6am, and started our guided tour shortly after arriving.  Within minutes we saw wild turkeys which are really colourful and coatis which are raccoon like - in fact we saw a whole family of coatis.  As we walked along our guide pointed out a howler monkey, which was asleep - he woke it up by calling to it... or... howling, and the little guy did wake up and reply.  All I can say is those little monkeys have very big lungs!  A little further along our guide stopped again so that we could avoid the monkey pee coming down through the trees... if you did not know better you would have thought it was rain.

Close up of the tarantula.
  The creatures of the "rain" were some cute and furry spider monkeys.

The Tikal Mayan ruins are in the middle of dense rain forest, with many of the temples still covered over and yet to be unearthed.  Our guide was really good, talking not only about the ruins and Mayan history, but also about the plant and animal life.  We were lucky enough to be shown a tarantula spider - massive furry thing, which he saved by moving  it back to its hidey hole.

Tallest mayan ruins.
  He also showed us these trees which live in a symbiotic relationship, which eventually kills the host tree - these 'lovers trees' wrap themselves around their hosts.

We learnt that Tikal means "The City of Sounds".  Each dynasty built two temples directly opposite each other, which were aligned with the stars and the sun in relation to the annual solstices.  The acoustics created make sounds reverberate in the forest, such as clapping. 

You can climb quite a few of the ruins in Tikal, we started with the biggest which had 360 stairs, followed by the steepest with only about 50 stairs - but it was like climbing up a ladder.  We ended the tour in the main court, where we were given time to walk around... climb another temple, explore the ruins, take in the view and watch some local Mayans praying in their own spiritual way.

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Some plant I found at our lunch pi…
Some plant I found at our lunch p…
Getting ready to get on to the bar…
Getting ready to get on to the ba…
Walking around Flores.
Walking around Flores.
Tikal National Park
Tikal National Park
Close up of the tarantula.
Close up of the tarantula.
Tallest mayan ruins.
Tallest mayan ruins.
On the barge.
On the barge.
Went to a cafe called Cool Beans…
Went to a cafe called "Cool Beans…
Cool Beans.
Cool Beans.
Cool Beans is quite quirky.
Cool Beans is quite quirky.
Cool Beans - can you see the sign …
Cool Beans - can you see the sign…
Me, Maree and Al working through o…
Me, Maree and Al working through …
Well...
Well...
Walking around Flores.
Walking around Flores.
The towns square... check out wha…
The town's square... check out wh…
Its the logo for the local beer!
It's the logo for the local beer!
The view from one of the restauran…
The view from one of the restaura…
View of one of the islands across …
View of one of the islands across…
Another restaurant on the water, w…
Another restaurant on the water, …
Maree, holding... Marees hot sauc…
Maree, holding... Maree's hot sau…
Sunset over the water.
Sunset over the water.
Sunset over the water... this phot…
Sunset over the water... this pho…
Our guide at the Tikal Mayan Ruins.
Our guide at the Tikal Mayan Ruins.
My first coati sighting.
My first coati sighting.
My first wild turkey sighting.
My first wild turkey sighting.
Wild crocs not caged up... danger…
Wild crocs not caged up... "dange…
One of the crocs.
One of the crocs.
Close up of the friendly croc.
Close up of the 'friendly' croc.
Tikal National Park Warnings... ju…
Tikal National Park Warnings... j…
Love my trees :)
Love my trees :)
The family of coatis - you can see…
The family of coatis - you can se…
Park Info on Spider and Howler mon…
Park Info on Spider and Howler mo…
The Ceiba Tree.
The Ceiba Tree.
Mayan ruins.
Mayan ruins.
Mayan ruins.
Mayan ruins.
Looking down the stairs from the t…
Looking down the stairs from the …
Looking over the forest at the tal…
Looking over the forest at the ta…
The tarantula spider.
The tarantula spider.
Close up of the tarantula spider.
Close up of the tarantula spider.
Mayan ruins grown over.
Mayan ruins grown over.
Mayan ruins grown over.
Mayan ruins grown over.
The ancient main Mayan road throug…
The ancient main Mayan road throu…
A Howler Monkey - still asleep.
A Howler Monkey - still asleep.
Spider monkey.
Spider monkey.
Spider monkey.
Spider monkey.
Views from the top of the tallest …
Views from the top of the tallest…
Views from the top of the tallest …
Views from the top of the tallest…
Views from the top of the tallest …
Views from the top of the tallest…
Views from the top of the tallest …
Views from the top of the tallest…
Me at the top of the tallest templ…
Me at the top of the tallest temp…
Me at the top of the tallest templ…
Me at the top of the tallest temp…
Mayan ruin.
Mayan ruin.
Facial mask set in the mayan ruins.
Facial mask set in the mayan ruins.
Lovers trees.
Lovers trees.
Lovers trees.
Lovers trees.
Mayan ruins.
Mayan ruins.
Mayan ruins.
Mayan ruins.
Maree at the Mayan ruins.
Maree at the Mayan ruins.
Me at Mayan ruins.
Me at Mayan ruins.
Lovers trees.
Lovers trees.
Wild turkey.
Wild turkey.
wild turkeys.
wild turkeys.
A partially covered temple.
A partially covered temple.
The temple with the steepest stair…
The temple with the steepest stai…
Views across the ruins.
Views across the ruins.
Views across the ruins.
Views across the ruins.
Me on top of the steeptes temple.
Me on top of the steeptes temple.
Looking at one of the temples in t…
Looking at one of the temples in …
Me at the mayan ruins.
Me at the mayan ruins.
Ceiba tree info....
Ceiba tree info....
Ceiba tree.
Ceiba tree.
Wood pecker.
Wood pecker.
Wood pecker.
Wood pecker.
Views of the main court from the t…
Views of the main court from the …
One of the temples in the main cou…
One of the temples in the main co…
Mayan ruins - centre court.
Mayan ruins - centre court.
Walking around the main court.
Walking around the main court.
Mayan ruins - centre court.
Mayan ruins - centre court.
Mayan ruins - centre court.
Mayan ruins - centre court.
Me at the mayan ruins - centre cou…
Me at the mayan ruins - centre co…
Me with the main court in the back…
Me with the main court in the bac…
Close up of one of the masks set i…
Close up of one of the masks set …
Mayan rituals.
Mayan rituals.
A Mayan in traditional dress for a…
A Mayan in traditional dress for …
Panorama of Tikal.
Panorama of Tikal.
Flores
photo by: Deannimal