Located just across the western border of Belize in Guatemala, TIKAL is one of the most iconic ancient historical sites in the world. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, Tikal is perhaps the most famous ancient Maya site ever discovered.
Abandoned more than 1,000 years ago and lost to the jungle until the 20th century, Tikal is now the crown jewel of ancient Maya cities. During its heyday, Tikal had a large population of around 90,000 people and its rulers dominated the region, regularly battling with nearby dynasties in the Caracol and Xunatunich (both in Belize) before mysteriously being abandoned around the late 800s AD.
Today, Tikal is perhaps most famous for its signature temples located in a grand central plaza. The tallest pyramid, dubbed Temple IV, rises more than 230 feet (70 meters) into the air. Built to celebrate the rain of Yik’in Chan Kawil, it is believed that this temple was built just one century before the entire city was abandoned.
Several other pyramids are clustered around the grand central plaza, including the Temple of the Mask, the Temple of the Jaguar Priest, and the Temple of the Inscriptions. Other signature locations in central Tikal include the “Mundo Perdido” (Lost World) complex which has five different platforms, a large pyramid (known as the Great Pyramid for its size), and an astronomical observatory.
The central core of Tikal is surrounded by more than 200 square miles (550 square kilometers) of unspoiled beauty that thrives with exotic wildlife such as monkeys, jaguars, and colorful birds. The entire Tikal city site has over 3,000 surviving buildings, only a fraction of which have been excavated by archeologists.
Details of note include elaborately carved beams of sapodilla wood use as lintels across the doorways of temples, stone shafts sculpted with figures and writing known as stelae, and a large collection of ceramic, obsidian, and jade objects.
The residential portion of Tikal is estimated to be approximately 23 square miles (60 square km) in size. Further outward, a series of massive earthworks have been discovered, including a 20-foot (six-meter) wide trench. There is also evidence of a series of irrigation canals and causeways that connected the outer regions of the city.
Difficulty level – Moderate
What to Bring – Camera, Sunscreen, Comfortable walking shoes and clothing, Insect Repellant
Time: 5:00am – 7:00pm
Cost: USD $275 per person (Leaving Dangriga, Hopkins or Placencia)
**Contact us for special deals on groups of 3 or more**