Tikal - Guatemala
Rising over the lush jungle canopy of northern Guatemala, the ancient temples and pyramids of Tikal evoke the Lost City of Atlantis and other mythical places. Yet, for all of its exotic appearance and wondrous architecture, Tikal is very real. One of the most famous archaeological and historical sites in the world, Tikal has captured the minds of millions across the planet. Once one of the most important and largest Mayan cities, Tikal today stands as a remarkably well-preserved landmark of Mesoamerican culture and heritage.
Tikal was a great Mayan city of vast wealth, power and influence. As the largest city of the Mayan “Classic Era” over a millennia ago, the city’s reach was almost unrivaled. Since its founding around the 4th century BC, Tikal prospered and became increasingly powerful until the decline of the Mayan civilisation around the year 900 AD.
With the decline and fall of the Mayans, Tikal became abandoned and left to ruin in the forbidding jungles of Central America. The lost city was known to indigenous people but not officially rediscovered until the 1850s when Western explorers became to map the area. In the mid 20th century, Guatemalan and American archaeologists and historians began to study the site in great depth. Eventually, it was opened to the public as a tourist attraction and cultural monument.
Today, Tikal is a major tourist attraction in the country of Guatemala and is protected by a national park. It is visited by thousands of people every year from all corners of the globe.
Tikal contains a wealth of historical sites to see. From ancient temples to plazas constructed centuries ago by a long lost people, Tikal is filled with ancient history and fascinating cultural monuments.
One of the best sites is the Great Plaza, the historic centre of the city. Flanked by Tikal’s iconic stone pyramids, the Great Plaza is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world.
Nearby lies the Central Acropolis, an ancient palace and other fascinating historical site. The North Acropolis and South Acropolis contain ancient burial grounds and wonderfully preserved Mayan architecture.
The Plaza of the Seven Temples, one of the largest plazas in Tikal, holds seven stunning temples to explore. Tikal is crowned by several towering pyramid-temples. These iconic temples are now free to be discovered by visitors and make for a great photo op. Temple IV is the largest and best preserved of these marvelous wonders. Other great sites to visit in Tikal include the Stelae Museum and the Tikal Museum. With so much history, culture and phenomenal architecture, the ruins of Tikal are among the most fascinating places on Earth.
Tikal, Guatemala, the location of one of the largest Mayan pyramid sites in Central America, invites you to explore the ancient mysteries of the Mayan civilization.
Follow the trails through the jungle on your own or with a guide. Expect to be greeted by inhabitants of the jungle, such as spider monkeys and coatimundi. Eventually you will come upon the tall temples and pyramids rising above the lush green canopy of the forest. Punctuating this lofty verdant carpet will be the tops of four other temples, each one containing its own hidden mysteries.
Guatemala’s treasured culture and nature preserve, Tikal National Park, covers 575 square KM’s, making this preserve the largest archaeological site on the American continent. Educational tours are available if you want to explore the ruins in-depth and gain valuable insights into the Mayan civilization.
Some visitors rise early to view the stunning sunrise from atop a pyramid or remain late into the day to experience the equally breathtaking sunset. Whether or not you are among these hardy adventurers, your visit to Tikal will leave you with enchanting memories that will never be forgotten! Contact BFirst Travel now to organise a trip to this amazing destination and for the experience that only the locals know!
The Tikal Ruins
Located in northern Guatemala, the Tikal ruins are one of the largest examples of pre-Columbian Maya civilization ever discovered. With more than 4,000 structures dating as far back as 800 B.C, the area was declared a World Culture Heritage Site in 1979 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
In 1979, the government of Guatemala created Tikal National Park which covers more than 220 square miles and encompasses all of the ruins as well as providing a refuge for a variety of native wildlife including the seldom seen jaguar. Visitors to the park will also enjoy the abundance of tropical flowers and exotic vegetation found in this area.
As one of the most important archaeological sites in Central America, the Tikal ruins feature a variety of structures including palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, and many other buildings. It is believed that the ancient Maya began construction of Tikal around 600 B.C. and the area was a center of religion and politics for the next 1500 years. One of the most spectacular structures in Tikal is known as the Great Plaza which is surrounded by ceremonial buildings, altars, and flanked on opposite sides by two massive temples. Another key structure is the Temple of the Double-Headed Serpent which, at 212 feet, is the tallest of the Tikal buildings. Archaeologists from around the world continue to explore Tikal, learning more everyday about Mayan culture and uncovering evidence showing how these structures were used.
The nearby town of Flores is a popular starting point for travelers wanting to explore Tikal. The main part of the town is situated on an island on Lake Petén Itzá, and is a charming and peaceful town which has delighted visitors for years. While staying in Flores, there are many activities to suit just about every traveler including exploring the lake by boat, taking canopy tours of rainforest, and visiting the bustling city markets. Travelers will also find good quality hotels and restaurants, as well as several museum and cultural centers worth visiting. There are several restaurants which offer Guatemalan cuisine as well as international dishes, and visitors will find plenty of spots perfect for relaxing with a cool drink.
If you’d like to examine these amazings ruins why not organise a tour with BFirst Travel for the experience that only the locals know!
Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
Lake Atitlán gets its unique shape from the deep escarpments that surround its edges and the three volcanoes that sit on its south flank. The lake was created by volcanic eruptions. It filled with a humongous caldera that was formed in a massive eruption that occurred more than eighty-four thousand years in the past. This lake has enjoyed much renown as the most beautiful lake on the planet. The lake is also characterized by the villages and towns in which the indigenous Mayan people reside.
There are a number of fun activities to be enjoyed by visitors to Lake Atitlán. Hiking enthusiasts can trek around the volcanoes. One of the basin’s most popular treks takes hikers around the lake and up onto the Volcan San Pedro. Another popular hike limbs the Indian Nose and offers spectacular views of the lake. Trekkers get a chance to have a close look at the lava by climbing Volcan Pacaya, which is a volcano that is highly-active. This is a particularly fun trail to cover on horseback. People who enjoy watersports can enjoy those activities. People who just want to unwind can enjoy the spas around the area, which offer meditation, saunas, and massages. Travelers can even rent motorcycles in San Pedro and Panajachel. There is no reason for anyone to ever be bored at Lake Atitlán.
There are many interesting villages surround Lake Atitlán. The Mayan culture is still extremely prominent in this area and most of the people where gorgeous traditional dress that provides stark contrast to the fashion of today. The Kaqchikel and the Tz’utujil are the most predominant of the Mayan cultures that inhabit this secluded area of Guatemala. The Kaqchikel people were the first to ally themselves with soldiers who invaded the land during the conquest of the American continents by the Spanish. Their idea was that they would use thus special relationship to easily defeat the natural enemies that had plagued them for years, namely the Quiché Maya and the Tz’utujil. Instead, they were also subdued and conquered for refusing to pay their tributes to their sly Spanish conquerors.
The undisputedly largest of the area’s lakeside communities is Santiago Atitlán. This interesting and unique community is characterized by its Maximón worship. Maximón was an idol that was formed from a fusion of Catholic saints, Mayan deities, and the conquistadors of legend. This effigy has become institutionalized under the strong control of an intriguing religious brotherhood. This group practices its worship in a variety of different homes, which belong to the members. The grand procession of Semana Santa is their biggest ceremony. Similar cults exist throughout Guatemala. The most notable of these is Zunil’s San Simón.
Lake Atitlán is an incredibly interesting and visually magnificent destination, if you’d like to book a trip to experience it yourself why not contact BFirst Travel?