Elevation: 307m / 100ft
Tikal, Guatemala Vacation Guide
Guatemala's dense jungle is the Crib of the Mayan Civilization. This particular place hosts the biggest and best preserved Mayan city, Tikal. The National Park is among the world's travel wonders. It welcomes thousands of people every year because of its incredible architectonic Mayan treasures and the ancient mysteries that remain hidden in this spot.
This sanctuary of flora and fauna was the home of the Mayas. In Tikal you will find around 3,000 structures like temples, terraces, ceremonial platforms and plazas. All of these structures were connected with an aqueduct system that filtered the water and feed a city of around 90,000 people. Tikal never fails to impress their visitors, so don't miss the opportunity to revive the Mayan culture by exploring this magnificent place.
Attractions and Activities
A recent investigation made in 2018 with laser technology discovered around 60,000 undetected Mayan ruins. Scientists were able to create a map of the jungle floor in just 50 hours of work thanks to this amazing technology. Tikal was revealed to be four times bigger than it is nowadays. It was thought that the entire Mayan population was of 2 million people, but now counts were revised to above of 10 million. This is an incredible discovery that left all archaeologists and specialists speechless. Make sure to visit Tikal while you visit Guatemala, it is the Heart of the Mayan World.
Excursions from Tikal to other destinations near by
This charming town at the edge of Lake Peten Itza is just an hour away from Tikal. It serves as the gateway to initiate your expeditions to any of the archaeological treasures the Peten has to offer. You will find many cafés, restaurants and souvenir stores in Flores.
This is another famous archeological site in the northeast of the region. Is the third largest city in ruins and has covered around 237 square kilometers (92 sq mi). Wander around the area and enjoy the atmosphere of ancient times, surrounded by the flora and fauna that covers this old Mayan city. Hearing the monkeys scream and searching for crocodiles inside the lagoon is one of the biggest attractions of this place.
The biggest pyramid in the ancient Mayan world is hidden in the middle of Guatemala's jungle. Enjoy this unique experience by reaching La Danta within five to seven days by walk or take a 30 minute flight in helicopter. This place holds a unique historic value for its archaeological richness and for being the biggest pyramid known till today.
Ixpampajul is the perfect place to enjoy Eco tourism. Surrounded by more than 200 different types of trees, 150 bird species and around 40 type of mammals, this natural reserve offers a big amount of activities to keep you active while enjoying the nature. An exciting journey going through hanging bridges is an experience you don't want to miss.
Architectonical treasures and Museums
The Grand Plaza consists on the ball court and Temples one and two. These temples are majestic prototypes of the Maya's architecture. Temple#2 is facing east to see the sunrise, and Temple#1 is facing west, to catch the sunset. This second one is Tikal's finest and most dominating monument, being one of the most notable pyramids in the World, the Big Jaguar.
The North Acropolis served as a cemetery for the royalty. A large number of royal tombs have been excavated and 12 temples were built to bury the Mayan kings. Mahler Palace and the Palace of the Five stories were the most important buildings of this area.
The Lost World
This area is composed by 38 structures that are astronomical commemorations. The spot was sacred to the Maya since it was used as a solar observatory in relation with the other small temples to the east of the big pyramid of the area.
Museum Sylvanus G Morley
A good addition to your tour of the Mayan ruins in the jungle is this museum outside Tikal National Park. Divided in two small museums, one part will show you original Mayan artefacts found in the excavation of the park and the other is a photographic timeline of the discovery process of the site.
Extensions from Tikal to Belize
Belize is rather close to Tikal and offers beautiful beaches and lots of Eco-tourism. You can easily combine Belize with your visit of Tikal. You will also find an area rich in bird sanctuaries, many varieties of wildlife and the second largest coral reef system in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef. Unique adventures and direct contact with the nature will inspire your senses. For more information please visit our sister site Enjoy Belize.
Location and Map
Located in the rainforest in the lowlands of Guatemala, Tikal is the largest archeological site excavated in the Americas. Travelers can reach this National Park from Flores in within an hour. From the Guatemala City, you can take a flight to Flores, Peten and then reach Tikal with a tour bus to begin your adventure. Tikal is located about 65 km/41 mi away from Flores and the International Airport of Flores (FRS).