Tikal (City of Echoes)

Tikal which translates to ("City of Echoes") is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban center of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El Petén, the site is part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tikal comprising over 3,000 astounding structures set in 55 square kilometers / 21 sq miles and situated in Guatemala's largest protected area.

Your tour begins with a meet and greet at your hotel by one of our experience guides followed by a quick 15 minute transfer from San Ignacio to the western border which divides Belize from Guatemala. Your journey will take you to the border town of Belize, Benque Viejo Del Carmen and of Guatemala Melchor De Mencos. Be sure to look out for the change in scenery as you cross the western border, the changes from Belize's British heritage to Guatemala's Spanish heritage can be clearly seen in the types of architecture in both countries.

Tikal mayan ruins image one
"Temples emerging at dawn" by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 to 900 AD. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. There is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century AD. Following the end of the Late Classic Period, no new major monuments were built at Tikal and there is evidence that elite palaces were burned. These events were coupled with a gradual population decline, culminating with the site's abandonment by the end of the 10th century.

Tikal is the best understood of any of the large lowland Maya cities, with a long dynastic ruler list, the discovery of the tombs of many of the rulers on this list and the investigation of their monuments, temples and palaces.

Tikal mayan ruins image two
"CIMG9419" by weirdnose is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Tour Duration: 7:00 am – 4:30 pm

What’s included: Transportation to and from your hotel, park entrance fee, Tikal tour guide, lunch, water and sodas

What’s not included: Departure Tax from Guatemalan Border so remember to bring along US$ 18.75

Level of Difficulty: Easy - Moderate – involves some stair and hill climbing

Location: Guatemala's Rainforest

Travel time to site: 1.5 hours

Remember to bring along: Bug spray, camera, sun screen, spending money for fees and souvenirs, and current valid passport