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Guatemala Trip Part 2

Friday, December 14, 2012

For the second part of our Guatemalan adventure, my sister and I flew from Antigua to Flores, then took a very crowded shuttle to Tikal ruins. WOW. Amazing. Tikal is a massive collection Mayan ruins set in the jungle, in part of the Mayan biodiversity zone (which is a UN designation). The area was very hot and humid, and the Tikal ruins were a bit crowded for our first visit (but nothing compared to the Disney World type crowds at Machu Picchu!) I went back for a guided pre-dawn hike (with flashlight) and the ruins were deserted except for our small group. What a different experience! Very moving to be sitting quietly and listening to the noise of the jungle awakening – screaming birds, and howler monkeys that sound like a loud predator!

Mindy (sister) and me by jungle tree -- HUGE!

Ruin and Stele (carved standing stone)

Mindy by Stele (Tikal)

Stele and ruins (Tikal)

Unexcavated ruin

Acropolis (ruin in Tikal)

We saw wildlife!


Coati (relative of a raccoon)

Spider Monkeys

Wild turkey (sure looks different than the North American wild turkey!)

Our hotel in Tikal was very nice, but more rustic. Power was only available from 6 to 10 p.m. – and it was pitch dark when I got up at 4 a.m. for the dawn hike up to the top of Tower 4 (the highest point, with views overlooking the jungle). My camera battery died on the dawn hike so I have no photos.

Tikal hotel

We spent a couple of nights in Flores, a beautiful colonial city set beside a lake.


Hotel in Flores (right on the lake!)

Mindy & I took a lancha (small boat) to the island, where there is a zoo and trail to unexcavated Mayan ruins

View of Flores from the lancha (white building in background is church build on top of pyramid ruins)

From Flores, we visited the ruins of Yaxha. WOW. These are MUCH less frequently visited that Tikal, and we really felt that we had traveled back in time.

Mindy & me at ruin

View after climb up tallest pyramid

The howler monkeys make an incredible noise. I’ll try to insert a link to a video – none of it is great quality but the NOISE is amazing. Unfortunately only my very WORST video actually shows the monkeys; so here it is. (Despite the appearance of the video I WAS NOT DRUNK when I recorded it. It just looks that way!) Our guide said that the movie Jurassic Park used howler monkey recordings to capture the imagined sound of dinosaurs in combat.

Hmmm...I haven't figured out how to post the video link to the howler monkeys. I'll edit this blog if I can figure it out.

I’ll post a third and final blog about my trip soon!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Fantastic trip - thank you so much for sharing your pictures and impressions. I would have preferred the less-visited ruins too.
    1863 days ago
    What a fantastic vacation!! I would love to see ruins like that!! And the photo of the view from top of one is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing-really enjoyed it!! emoticon emoticon
    1865 days ago
  • DAWN14163
    What a fantastic trip! Thank you for sharing.
    1865 days ago
  • DR1939
    Wonderful trip. We once were able to visit Stonehenge inside the circle at dusk. Our small group were the only people there. It was an amazing experience.
    1865 days ago
    What a wonderful trip you had with your sister! I can't imagine taking a pre-dawn hike and listening to the jungle wake up....memories that you will have forever. Thank you for sharing your photos with us.

    1866 days ago
    Thank you so much for another wonderful blog! It makes me want to go to Guatemala. I especially loved the ruins of Yaxha, as I don't like touristy places much.
    1866 days ago
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