Blogspot @ Head-over-Heels

The travel blog for the backpackers guide to the world

Tikal – Day 14

Posted by | Evil Kristos | February 1, 2009 | 1 Comment

I went to Tikal today. It had to be done. What can I say; it was a perfect day. It was very hot and sunny, I saw loads of animals and interesting vegetation, I also scratched my brand new camera and lost my shades, met “the real Indian Jones” (A nutty American professor who fell in to a ditch, discovered on that occasion something really cool and then realised that he was surrounded by snakes. He was interviewed there by some guys from The History Channel), I climbed a number of pyramids, almost watched the sunset but then had to leave to catch the last bus (that never showed up) and a bird shat on me (or may be a monkey). All in all it was rather successful day. I have no complaints whatsoever.

I wanted to tell you a little bit more about the sunset. Most people don’t seem to know about it which is a shame so lets see what we can do about it. The most spectacular view in Tikal is when you sit on Temple IV. From there you see A) that there is nothing but jungle surrounding the place and B) the tops of Temple I, II, and III rising above the canope of this very jungle. It is a spectacular view in the first place and if you watched Star Wars you actually know it (even if you didn’t know that). It’s quite something.

The trick now is that these pyramids were built and aligned with great care and for a purpose. In early May when the rainy season starts the tops of the tree temples glow like gold in the setting sun. This golden glow indeed marks the beginning of the rainy season.

I know it’s not May now but I would expect that the temples always glow a little in the sunset and that is what I wanted to see. Unfortunately Tikal doesn’t facilitate this unless you spend he night in one of the places there. I didn’t know that but found out the hard way.

The problem is that the last bus is leaving at 6. The proper sunset this time of the year only starts well after 5. Good enough? No, it isn’t. The walk from Temple IV back to the car park is a good 35-40 minutes. Since I wasn’t sure how long exactly I left shortly after 5 when it just started to get really good. On my way back I actually saw the glowing of temple II and III and it does look spectacular.

I kinda saw it so I am happy enough with it. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Tikal but I certainly didn’t regret coming. It is a very special place and although a tiny little bit of a rip off I’d recommend going there if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.

I know quite a few Mayan sites and this is by far the best looking. They guys put a lot of effort into maintaining the place and even rebuilding and restoring it. From that prospective the 20 Dollars are an investment into the future. Unlike most places I’ve seen Tikal will get better and better.

The setting in the middle of the jungle, the versatile and exotic wildlife, even the noises and last but not least some the temples – some of the sexiest pyramids ever built – make Tikal to my favourite “decayed place where long dead people lived ages ago” in the world.

Funny I just made that up but I like it.

Tikal - The Gran Plaza

Tikal - The Gran Plaza

Spider Monkey in Tikal

Spider Monkey in Tikal

Tikal - view from Temple IV

Tikal - view from Temple IV


One Response to “Tikal – Day 14”

  1. JD
    February 4th, 2009 @ 15:29

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.