Parque Nacional Tikal Travel Guide

  • L to R: Templos I, II & III seen from Templo IV
    L to R: Templos I, II & III seen from...
    by calcaf38
  • Tikal piramides
    Tikal piramides
    by Twan
  • Parque Nacional Tikal
    Parque Nacional Tikal
    by Twan

Parque Nacional Tikal Highlights

  • Pro
    Bwana_Brown profile photo

    Bwana_Brown says…

     Fantastic location, fantastic history 

  • Con
    willy_wonka profile photo

    willy_wonka says…

     extremely humid and hot. bring the deodorant folks! 

  • In a nutshell
    easterntrekker profile photo

    easterntrekker says…

     A wonderful special chance to see what once was. 

Parque Nacional Tikal Things to Do

  • Visitors' Center

    A visit to Tikal starts at the Visitors' Center where there is a small museum, numerous small souvenir shops and snack stalls.

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  • The Great Pyramid of the Jaguar or...

    The Great Pyramid of the Jaguar or Temple I of Tikal is one of the largest buildings in the former Mayan city of Tikal. The Tikalcomplex is on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. The city of Tikal was and is one of the largest Mesoamerican cities located in the northern lowlands of Guatemala, in the department of Peten. The pyramid of the Great...

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  • Piramides of Tikal

    During the Middle Preclassic period (900-300 BC), ancient Maya farmers in the Petén region of northern Guatemala settled a series of low rainforest ridges at Tikal overlooking swampy bajos. After playing a secondary role in the Middle and Late Preclassic to neighboring Maya centers at Nakbé and El Mirador, Tikal became an Early Classic center in...

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  • Museums

    There are two museums at Tikal, the Stelae Museum and the Sylvannus G. Morley Museum, located within a few minutes’ walk of each other near the Visitor Centre. We visited both on the morning after our “grand tour” with Miguel, while waiting for him to pick us up for our transfer to Belize. There are both pros and cons to visiting the museums either...

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  • Ball court

    A small ball court lies between Temple I and the Central Acropolis. This has the same design as most of these structures, with a long narrow alley flanked by two walls with horizontal, vertical, and sloping faces (we were later to see a variation on this design in Lamanai in Belize). The location and small size of this one has led experts to...

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  • North Acropolis, Central Acropolis

    The whole of the north side of the Grand Plaza is occupied by the collection of buildings known as the North Acropolis. Unfortunately this is the point on our tour where I began to run out of steam (a combination of the longest walk I’d done in over a year, and the heat of the midday sun), so I didn’t explore as fully as I might have done – and as...

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Parque Nacional Tikal Hotels

Parque Nacional Tikal Restaurants

  • A welcome lunch break

    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 –...

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  • Eating alone!

    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...

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  • A coffee before you go

    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.

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Parque Nacional Tikal Nightlife

  • Lighting and full moon watching

    If you happen to end up in the park after hours, which is unlikely, go to temple IV for the sunset, moon rise and subsequent lightning storm on 3 sides in the distance. You won't want to leave so don't. I didn't. Anything is better than shorts, a tank top, and a cheap rain pancho, but if it's all you've got...

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  • Darkness Falls Quickly

    Once the sun was just about below the horizon (second photo), the crowd atop Mundo Perdido did not waste any time getting to the bottom, and we were amongst the first to make it down! The individual steps are not outrageously high and the slope was manageable as well.One thing you should bring with you on the sunset or sunrise tours is a flashlight...

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  • Sunset Viewing from Atop the Pyramids

    One of the problems with a normal day-trip to Tikal is that you don't get to enjoy either a sunrise or sunset experience at the Temples. Because of that fact, we chose to spend a night in the Park so we could do one or both of the above. Our afternoon exploratory excursion was successful in giving us an idea of where we would have to be going and...

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Parque Nacional Tikal Transportation

  • TACA versus TAG in flying to Flores to...

    I just booked my flight from Flores (nearest airport to Tikal which is about another hour way by driving) to Guatemala City just through a travel agent. But it did seem to me that there are two major airlines flying to Flores. The bigger one is TACA airlines and I later learned that TAG is the smaller company. And one of my co-tourists who is also...

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  • Maya bus tour by Baobab

    In the Netherlands we booked a group tour through Baobab. The Mayian Tour visiting, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize. This is an excellent way of discovering the ancient Maya parks.

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  • Flight between Guatemala City & Tikal

    Flights heading for Tikal leave from both International (TACA and Tikal Airlines) and National (the rest) airports. Departures are commonly early in the morning 6-7am and just over an hour if I remember correctly, which I may not... Return flights are late in the afternoon/early evening 4-6pm. The airport at Tikal is actually a few kilometers...

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Parque Nacional Tikal Shopping

  • On the way back

    Artesana Zayda is on the way back from Tikal if you are staying in Flores or Santa Elena. (It is about 30 km. from Santa Elena.) They carry very nice carvings, pottery, and clothing. They also have a good selection of books on history and culture in English, including the Popol Vuh. This shop is not inexpensive, but you might find things you...

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  • Buy Some Good Books

    In the Museum building, near the patio cafe, there is a good bookstore with a predictably large selection of books for Tikal and the Mayan world in general. The images here show the titles that I purchased. After stumbling around Tikal with only a map, it's nice to have the perspective that such reading can provide. The bookstore also has a variety...

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  • WANNA BUY SOUVENIERS?

    LOCATED NEAR THE CAR PARK AND RIGHT BY A POND IS A HOUSE (CENTRO DE VISITANTES) WHICH GOT A RESTAURANT IN IT AND A COUPLE OF SHOPS TO BUY YOUR SOUVENIERS. WOODEN HAND CRAFTS, BOOKS, POSTCARDS, ORNAMENTS, AND OTHER STUFF.

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Parque Nacional Tikal Local Customs

  • Ceiba Trees

    Ceiba Trees (pronounced 'SAY-ba') are the national tree of Guatemala and were also revered by Mayans as the 'God of the Heavens' because they believed that these huge trees held up the sky. Indeed, I was impressed whenever I saw them in both Guatemala and Belize, and this specimen alongside the path into Tikal National Park was no exception. With...

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  • Howler Monkeys

    Howlers hang out all around the Tikal Park. Most likely you'll at least hear them . I couldn't get a raelly good pictures but it was a pretty amazing sight to see them swinging through the trees above the ancient royal palace!

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  • Malaria Medicine

    Our guide showed us a plant used locally as a malaria medice . He called it Ajenjo (Artemisia absinthium). It is used in a tea. The use of plants by indigenous Americans dates back more than 10,000 years.

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Parque Nacional Tikal Warnings and Dangers

  • Tarantula at Tikal

    Tarantulas (Theraphosidae) are a well known family within the suborder of spiders tarantula species (Mygalomorphae). Many types of reaching a proper body height in comparison with other spinning. A number of species is kept in a terrarium at home.Tarantulas are relatively harmless despite their size. Most species are not very fast, non-toxic to...

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  • Complex logistics to/from Belize

    Warning, it looked VERY CONFUSING to try to arrange a trip from Belize to Tikal on your own---its pretty far from the Belizean border and was basically in the middle of no where. The border crossing looked a bit complex---and I have made several land crossings myself (Morocco/Argentina & Uruguay/ Brazil & Argentina) and this by far looked overly...

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  • Be Prepared

    We roamed around the park for 5 hours...and could have did more . We were happy we took a couple of bottles of water with us .There is nowhere to buy water once you start the hike.

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Parque Nacional Tikal Tourist Traps

  • atufft's Profile Photo
    Woman cleaning up food found by coati-mondi 4 more images

    by atufft Written May 5, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This little animal can distract you from your food and away from the investigations of the ruins. We had fun watching them play nearby, but I don't recommend feeding them human food.

    Unique Suggestions: Hang around and watch others do it. This little creatures are related to the North American raccoon and are very clever.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Jungle and Rain Forest

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Parque Nacional Tikal What to Pack

  • Dress for heat and comfort

    It can get pretty hot in the middle part of the day here, so light clothing is best. If you’re going to be in the park for either sunrise or sunset consider wearing long sleeves as there are plenty of mosquitoes wanting to take a bite out of you! You’ll need comfortable walking shoes, preferably with reasonable grip on the soles for climbing, and...

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  • Travel light but take the esentials

    Back packs are good....you don't need a lot...strictly casual clothes Hiking or running shoes are necessary . We spent 5 hours walking around the park . There is lots of climbing and some rough ground. Light long pants and shirts are good ....there are mosquitos. Sunblock and deet Lots of digital space. I couldn't believe how many pictures I...

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  • THERE ARE MOSQUITOES OUT THERE IN THE...

    A BACKPACK WILL DO NICELY TO CARRY STUFF YOU NEED IN. BETTER TO WEAR LONG CLOTHING TO REDUCE THE CHANCE OF BUGS BITING YOU, SO WEAR SOME TROUSERS AS INSECTS LOVE BITING LEGS AND ANKLES! IT'LL HELP TO BRING A THIN LONG SLEEVED TOP ALONG BUT SOMETIMES YOU CAN WEAR A T-SHIRT IF YOU'RE IN THE OPEN IF YOU GET TOO HOT.TRAINERS OR HIKING SHOES WILL...

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Parque Nacional Tikal Off The Beaten Path

  • Toucan

    Toucans are members of the family Ramphastidae of near passerine birds from the Neotropics. The Ramphastidae family is most closely related to the American barbets. They are brightly marked and have large, often colorful bills. The family includes five genera and about forty different species. The name of this bird group is derived from the Tupi...

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  • Wander away from the main ruins

    El Mirador is a massive site and tourists primarily only visit a small portion of what is there. If you give yourself a full day here, as should be a requirement, you will find some wonderful secrets and the further you get away from the crowds, the more wildlife you will experience. Make sure to carry a good map of the site so you don't get...

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  • Complex Q and Complex R

    My tour of Tikal began with a visit through the set of four pyramids (two pair) called Complex Q and Complex R. Only one of the pyramids is actually restored and like all of the remains in Tikal, only the facade has been restored. There are a set of 9 stelae propped up before the pyramid. It is not exactly known what the pyramids where used for as...

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Parque Nacional Tikal Favorites

  • Wildlife of Tikal

    Naturally the Maya ruins are the main reason you will want to visit Tikal, and also the most impressive sights you will see there, but it’s also a great place to spot wildlife. During our day in the park we were fortunate to see the following:~ Blue Morpho Butterfly~ Agouti~ Howler Monkeys~ Spider Monkeys~ Grey-Necked Water Rail~ Black Hawk~...

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  • Visiting Tikal National Park

    Tikal National Park was created on 26 May 1955 and was the first protected area in Guatemala. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day of the week, 365 days a year. A fee is payable to enter (10 Q in November 2010) and is valid for one day only. Ours was included in the cost of our...

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  • Some facts about Tikal

    There are signs of habitation here from as early as the 4th century BC, but Tikal was at the height of its greatness from about 200 – 900 AD. At that time it was one of the most important cities in the region, but it fell into decline and was abandoned over a thousand years ago, possibly because changing weather patterns had led to a lack of water...

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Comments (1)

  • Dec 3, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Where are you going to be on December 21st, 2012?
    An incredible destination is Tikal in Guatemala. They will have many celebrations related to the Mayan prophecies of Baktun 13!

 
Explore Deeper into Parque Nacional Tikal
Temple I
Things to Do
Temple II
Things to Do
The Grand Plaza
Things to Do
Temple III
Things to Do
Bat Palace
Things to Do
Temple IV
Things to Do
Great Pyramid of the Lost World
Things to Do
Plaza of the Seven Temples, Lost World
Things to Do
Temple V
Things to Do
Group G – Palacio de los Acanalduras
Things to Do
Temple VI
Things to Do
Water reservoir
Things to Do
Visitor Centre
Things to Do
Our flight to Flores
Transportation
To Tikal from Flores
Transportation
Wake up with the forest
Things to Do
Garbage pick up
Transportation
Did not quite make it
Transportation
Temple number 5
Things to Do
Temple 5
Things to Do
Grand Plaza
Things to Do
Morning Hike
Things to Do
Complex Q
Things to Do
Complex R
Things to Do
Great Plaza
Things to Do
Central Acropolis
Things to Do
Lost World Complex
Things to Do
Group G
Things to Do
Getting to Tikal, Guatemala
Transportation
Temple IV
Things to Do
The North Acropolis
Things to Do
Temple I
Things to Do
Temple III and the Bat Palace.
Things to Do
The Great Pyramid
Things to Do
Complex logistics to/from Belize
Transportation
Mundo Perdido
Things to Do
Templo IV
Things to Do
Transport guide
Transportation
question popular theories
Things to Do
Temple IV
Things to Do
Map of Parque Nacional Tikal

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