Our guided tour of the ruins included lunch. I had imagined that this would be a box lunch from the Lodge but we found instead that it was a meal in the park’s restaurant. The downside was that we had to wait till the end of our tour to eat, and as our guide Miguel had taken us on an extended walk it was after 2.00 before we sat down to our meal – and were we ready for it!! On the plus side, it was a very tasty and substantial meal, and (judging by the meals we had at the lodge) probably far better than a box meal would have been.
The restaurant is large, with long tables at which various tour groups were already seated when we arrived, but we were given space at the end of one set apart from the large groups, which we welcomed.
Favorite Dish: Our meal started with delicious vegetable soup and warm tortillas, and we then had fried chicken with vegetables (Miguel had asked us earlier to chose between chicken or beef, but I’m not sure if a vegetarian option is also possible). To follow there were slices of pineapple and watermelon. Drinks were extra – we paid 15 Q each for sodas (I can recommend the lemon Crush which was very refreshing after a long hot walk). I don’t know what a meal here would cost if bought separately from a tour – I don’t think it would be expensive, but I also don’t know if it’s even possible as everyone did seem to be part of a tour group when we were there.
We ate several meals in the Jungle Lodge’s large restaurant and found them of mixed quality. The breakfasts, which were included in our room rate, were reasonable. We had a choice of two, “American” or “Guatemalan”, so as we were here for two nights I naturally sampled one of each! Both started with fruit juice and a plate of fresh fruit (pineapple and melon), and both included coffee, which was rather too weak for my taste. The hot dish for the American breakfast consisted of eggs (scrambled or fried), bacon and toasted corn bread. For the Guatemalan breakfast I got eggs again but this time served with refried beans, plantains and tomato sauce – so this would be the better choice for vegetarians. There are other breakfast options but you have to pay extra for these if on a bed and breakfast deal.
Dinners were not included in our room rate however, so had to be paid for separately. On our first evening we had already had a snack on the plane and didn’t want a full meal, so we shared a generous plate of nachos with guacamole and a couple of Gallos in the bar area – both very good. On the second day we were hungry after our exertions among the ruins (despite the good lunch we had had there), so opted for a proper dinner, but this was largely disappointing. Chris did like his carpaccio starter but his ravioli was overcooked, and although the red pepper salad I started with was OK, my pepper steak was also overcooked (I had asked for medium rare but it was decidedly well-done) and the sauce bland, and the accompanying vegetables managed to be again overcooked, yet cold.
Disconcertingly on both evenings we were one of just two couples in this large room, which we found a little uncomfortable, although it meant for attentive (but too quick) service. Our waiter assured us that this wasn’t always the case and that they were expecting about 60 guests on the coming weekend ... hmm, I’m not so sure.
The restaurant is open to non-residents and offers an alternative to the one in the park or the cheaper local places near the gate – but I wouldn’t bother paying the extra during the day when those are open. After 5.00 PM or so this is probably your only option for a hot meal, unfortunately.
If you arrive at Tikal early you can grab a coffee at the restaurant or breakfast. Beware that even though the coffee is good the service is slow , so if you're anxious to get going like I was this is a problem.
Near the Park Entrance, and somewhat across from the museum, there's a concession restaurant that serves a decent breakfast for a reasonable price. The van from Flores dropped us off early in the morning here, just before the park opened, so we decided to eat breakfast. I had eggs rancheros, I believe, along with coffee and an orange juice. The service is informal but efficient. It's not a great place, but there's no sense waiting around the hotel for breakfast. Catch the early van headed for Tikal and breakfast at the park. You'll need a good breakfast because the day of hiking will take all the fuel reserves you can get.
We found that the meal set-up at the Jungle Lodge pretty well required you to dine Buffet style in their main Dining Room. There was no other option, just pick what you wanted from the particular buffet being served and pay the set price. The tables were all professionally set up with the required crockery and cutlery and the waiters were attentive to all our needs (a little hand-shaking motion with a comment of 'Picante' got me the required hot sauce for breakfast!).
One afternoon we took a walk down to the other two hotels to see if we could order something from their restaurants, but no luck in either case. Only later did we discover that there is a small 'restaurant' area at the entrance to the car park area, and close to the Visitor's Centre (which we had bypassed completely when our van dropped us off directly at our hotel).
Favorite Dish: Our evening buffet meal consisted of a bowl of very tasty soup, chicken breast in red sauce, very crisp carrots/beans Julienne, pasta with sauce parmesan, rice and bun (90 Q or US$12 each) as well as a bottle of cold white wine from Mendoza, Argentina (160 Q or US$21). The wine was a bit expensive, but it was actually quite difficult to get anything reasonable at all for wine in the far reaches of Belize, so we both quite enjoyed this particular bottle! We noticed that one of the tour groups being served consisted of the same crew of professional bird-watchers we had seen more than a week before while we were staying at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize. Near the end of the meal, the lights began to go erratically dim before going completely dark - the type of thing that would have had me up and out of my chair in pre-retirement days when my job was keeping the power on! One of the bird-watching group then pulled out a spotlight for some secondary illumination off the ceiling until the waiters came around to each table with candles for a more romantic finish to the meal !
For breakfast, the chef whipped us up nice vegetable omellets (with ham, onion, tomato, red pepper, mushrooms and cheese) to go with our fruit, juice, toast and coffee (60 Q or US$8 each). Overall, I thought the dining room did a great job of it!
Our first order of business in Tikal was to head into the array of Mayan ruins to get the lay of the land while we still had daylight - so this meant a 3-hour up and down trek (11:30-2:30) in the tropical heat of the mid-day sun. After a quick wash-up on our return, it was not long before we settled into the cool comfort of the Restaurant Bar located only a few steps from our accommodations block!
Those ice cold Guatemalan 'Gallo' beers certainly went down quickly and not a bad price either at only US$2.60 each! After we had calmed down a bit, and were sipping more slowly, we got talking to an English couple sitting at the table next to us. It turns out that they live in Falmouth, Cornwall only 15 miles from Truro where my wife and I spent Christmas with her family! The guy even knew some of the same people from the area that we did!
Favorite Dish: Our conversation dragged on so long that we ended up ordering a plate of Cheese Nachos from the bar menu to help us along with the beers. This was an OK dish, but only had cheese to go with the nachos, no salsa or anything else. Later in our visit, when we tried to order something else from their menu, they said the Nachos were the only thing served in the Bar because, in reality, they had the Dining Room tables set up for large bunches of tour groups. Our 5 beers and plate of Nachos only came to US$17 - quite reasonable for a hotel bar I thought!
After some of our later excursions into the park, I switched to bottled water to help replenish the fluids that were sweating out of me at a rapid pace!!
Several of these Comedors are on the Tikal grounds. The comedor, in Spanish, is the dining room. It has also the meaning of an eatery, or small working class restaurant.
Favorite Dish: fried chicken, french fries and rice and a drink, plus a liter of water -- was around US$13
There is a restaurant for guests. I don't know if you can eat here if you are not staying here. You have to make a reservation in advance for dinner which is 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and is a single set menu with no choices.
Favorite Dish: We had dinner for two here for US$20 -- tomato-squash soup, stewed chicken, green beans, pickled julienne beets, potatoes, flour tortillas, hot tea, and flan for dessert. All very good
We found this was a good cheap place to eat breakfast after we'd been into the park for the sunrise.