The ancient Maya city of Tikal is one of the great attractions on the Maya Trail. The Mayan Trail stretches from the Yucatan in Mexico, into Guatemala, and all throughout Belize. It is a common stop for backpackers looking to see the best of the Maya heartland. If you can only see one Maya site, Tikal National Park is our top pick for Maya travel destination. Although Tikal is located in Guatemala, it is very easy to get to from Lower Dover. Fluent Spanish is not necessary.
Located within the Peten Maya Biosphere Reserve, which covers a huge portion of Northern Guatemala, Tikal is one of many archaeology sites in the area. It was once a great capital city during Classic Maya times. It remained extremely important until neighboring capital Caracol conquered the city in 556 AD. A 130 year hiatus of building ensued. Only after Tikal conquered Caracol’s closest ally, Calakmul, in 695 AD did Tikal regain it’s significance in the Maya world. It was after this time that the 5 largest Maya temples were built. Great Maya monuments continued to be built until 869 AD, the last recorded date on Stela 24 at Tikal.
The temples stretch above the jungle canopy making for breathtaking views. In fact, the view was so perfect that George Lucas used it in the making of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The shot where a Rebel oversees the Millennium Falcon landing on Yavin was taken on top of a building known as Temple IV looking east where Temple I, II and III can be seen on film.
Tikal sits within a vast nature reserve, and wildlife sightings are very common. Expect to have photo opportunities of Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Quash, and many different birds. Make sure you don’t hit any driving in!
Your guide will be verse in the English language and will be able to share with you a lot about the history of Tikal and the Maya people that occupied the site . Your tour will take some 3 to 4 hrs at the site. If you are on an extreme budget, it is possible to take public transportation and do a self-guided tour in one day. We are happy to get you to Tikal any way you want.