To See & Do
- Great Plaza
- North Acropolis
- Central Acropolis
- Mundo Perdido (Lost World Complex)
- Temple IV The tallest temple in the park.
You will also see a few black monkeys jumping high up among the trees.
- Tikal Visitor Center Get your bearings at the visitor center which features a relief map of the ancient site, as well as a restaurant, restrooms, gift shops and a post-office
- Stelae Museums Cost for non-locals is Q10.
- Sylvanus G. Morley Museum (also called the “Tikal Museum”)
- Jungle canopy tour – A thrill ride along cables slung between tall trees in the jungle just outside the gate to Tikal National Park. You sit in a harness, slide from tree to tree, then climb up the tree to the next platform for the next cable. The highest trees poke above most of the canopy so you can see a long way. The longest cable ride is some 150m. This company has two routes. The main one is USD$30 (as of December 2005). The second one is lower and shorter, at the end of a 20-minute walk into the forest, and costs USD$10. The equipment and construction appears solid, and the ride itself is simple enough that everyone from seven-year-olds to grandmothers can do it. There appears to be a bit of a rush at 11:00 am, but try to wait and go in a smaller group if you can — it will be more fun. Reservations possible but don’t seem necessary. It might make sense to take the canopy tour on the second morning of a two-day Tikal tour, and arrange for the hotel transfer to Flores to pick you up at the park gate, rather than backtracking to the hotel first.
Landscape – Lots of very tall trees provide shade along the wide trails as you trek from one ruin to the next. With the exception of Temple IV the elevations are small. Very steep wooden staircases lead up to the temples that are open to the public.
If you go early enough in the morning (or better still, stay at one of the hotels in the park), it’s possible to see and hear the monkeys. Spider monkeys sleep together in large groups, but during the day they disperse. It’s easiest to see them when they’ve woken up and are beginning to move around. Howler monkeys are more often heard than seen. Coatimundis,a racoon-like mammal and brightly colored wild “ocellated” turkeys, are everywhere. Toucans and other exotic birds contribute to the ruins’ reputation for wonderful bird watching. Jaguars are rare but have been spotted on the more remote trails.
It’s sunny, hot and humid in winter so dress lightly and bring water since you will be sweating climbing up the many steep steps of the monuments which are spread out. The trails are also muddy in a few places but there is plenty of shade under the canopy of trees. Winter nights can be cool.
The Kingdom of the Maya • Locations & Activities