Sarah Down South travel blog

My tent

Temple IV

Ladders to climb up Temple IV

Does anybody recognize this scene from Star Wars?

Sunset

Sunset over the jungle

Temple I at sunset


I slept in until 11:30 this morning, no doubt due to the fact that I stayed up late last night watching TV, and maybe also because I wasn't sweating buckets in my air-conditioned room. Flores is without a doubt the hottest place I have been to yet. I had intended to lounge around the pool for a while this morning, but my late wake-up meant that I had to pack and run some errands, including booking a shuttle to Tikal this afternoon for the bargain price of 25 quetzales.

The shuttle picked me up a little after 2pm and we arrived at Tikal a little after 3:30. If you buy your entrance ticket after 3pm, it is stamped for the next day, which meant that I would be able to see the sunset tonight and go back into the park in the morning without having to pay twice. There are three hotels inside the park but the rooms are pretty expensive, so I decided to rent a tent from one of them and camp on the grounds for the night... after all, how many chances to you have to camp in a Guatemalan jungle?

After setting up my tent (actually, watching someone else set it up for me), it was 5:00 and I headed into the park to see what I could before dark. Tikal is truly spectacular, with no less than 7 temples and pyramids and thousands of other structures; but the best part is the setting within the Tikal National Park, encompassiong 370km² of rainforest. The ruins are spread out over a large area, and it took me about 25 minutes to walk to Temple IV, which is the tallest temple at Tikal at 62 metres high (as a reminder, Chichen Itza was 25m high). There was hardly anyone around at this point and I ended up having Temple IV to myself to watch the sunset. After the sun went down, I walked back to my tent, checking out some of the other ruins on the way and watching the spider monkeys and keel-billed toucans in the trees above me. I had dinner at the restaurant where I was camping with a German girl who was also travelling alone, and now it's off to my tent to sleep. Let's hope the jaguars don't get me!

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