I think I finally figured it out. I think I felt the same way about Tikal as I did about the Grand Canyon. I just didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it either though. Maybe I don’t have this all figured out. It was my fourth and final ruin site. Maybe I was running out of ruin steam. That didn’t take long.
I do think that if I was there by myself I would have liked it much less. It was quite an adventure though, and I enjoyed the way it happened. It all started with the idea to stay up all night for the early morning tour. Not sunrise early, but the right after sunrise tour.
The evening before we left, there were a few drinks consumed by everyone. Eventually two of us decided we wanted tacos and we were determined to find them. Find them we did in a local bar on the waterfront. I felt like the center of attention walking through there with my pasty skin, still untouched by the golden rays of the sun. It was still early in my trip, I couldn’t help it. These were the best tacos ever and totally worth the stares. I even liked the pork tacos and I don’t like pork that much. They were that good.
After that, we got locked out of our hostel. This happened around 2:30 AM and we didn’t want to wake up every person in there, but we also didn’t want to sleep in the street. We were finally let in for our whopping hour of sleep. I was the first to wake up and ended up waking up the other two that were going from my hostel.
Have you ever walked into a hostel dorm room to wake someone up hoping you weren’t waking up a complete stranger? I have. It’s weird. Thankfully, it was the right person and I maybe only woke up a couple others as collateral damage. Sorry guys!
Finally, we’re on our way! The first stop after arrival at the park was for the bathroom and coffee. This is when I met a Chinese girl that was studying in Wisconsin. What are the chances! This was her escape from the cold, too, but she was headed back in a few short days.
Somehow we became part of a group. Shortly after, we were told we had to part ways if we didn’t pay for the tour guide we were currently with. What? We paid for a tour? Right, yes, we paid for a tour. Perfect, we’re on our way then!
But, of course, this luck wouldn’t last. Was this even luck? Batteries were dying left and right and a solar charger wasn’t doing much of anything. I was stuck using my phone for pretty much all of my pictures because tequila left me a bit unprepared. Oh well, life goes on!
The guide was beneficial though and I’m glad we stuck with him. You know I don’t like tours because I’m horribly forgetful, but it was very cool to hear about the history and he was good for help with animals we at least heard. I would definitely recommend going with a guide, at least for part of it.
I’m not even sure how long we were at Tikal, it was a long time, but it ended up being fun. I didn’t see much wildlife, but did get to see the whole jungle. That wasn’t too horrible. I did like that we could go to the top of some temples. There were stairs on the back leading up to the top for wonderful views of more jungle temples. Some smaller ones you could just climb right up the front. I definitely spent more time here than any other ruins and could have spent way more if I was a little more prepared.
Here is my advice for visiting Tikal, based on my experience.
- Make sure everything is charged!
- Go with a guide.
- Maybe sleep a little before you go, if you go early.
- Get a map.
- Bring snacks.
- Don’t skip it. It’s popular for a reason.
Alright, maybe I liked Tikal a little more than the Grand Canyon. Thinking back on the experience and everything that happened, I realize I enjoyed it more that I thought. Maybe I think I enjoy it more than I actually did. I’m not sure, but now I’m a little more fond of it, so I guess it’s all worked out.
Have you been to Tikal? What did you think of it? Do you want to go? What is your advice for going?