My friend Andrea from Elon finally arrived in Belize on Tuesday and headed out to Cayo with me for a week of adventure activities. She lived in Belize last spring and was a wealth of knowledge when it came to choosing the right activities for our short stay.
To start, we decided to take a day trip out to Guatemala to visit the Tikal Mayan ruins. San Ignacio is only about 15 minutes from the Belize/Guatemala border, so it was extremely quick and easy. Our tour guide just dropped us off at the border and we walked through customs to meet our Guatemalan guide on the other side. After crossing, we enjoyed about an hour long van ride to Tikal. As usual, it was nice to just sit back and check out the Guatemalan countryside and small towns.
After arriving in Tikal we unloaded and started walking around with our guide. And this place was massive! It is said that Tikal once rivaled Rome in size and population. Only about 7% of the original buildings have been excavated, but we still got to discover 6 huge temples. Many were so tall that they don’t allow tourists to climb them, but the tallest temple (temple of the two-headed serpent, I believe), had a rickety wooden staircase that took you to the top. For those that don’t know, I have a slight fear of heights so it was quite a challenge making myself climb the 72 meters. But I made it up to the little ledge, and the views were worth it.
During or stay we had such an amazing guide that was just a bucket of knowledge. But he gave us SO much knowledge that I retained very little. Between all of the pre-classic and classic periods and all the dates he threw out, I was doing good to actually remember the names of the temples. But some bits of knowledge that we did find interesting were the explanation of the 3 points that the Maya used in the temple structure ( similar to the pyramids), the significance of using Orien’s belt for dates, and the use of the cross for building and layout purposes. And really just trying to understand how these incredible structures were built.
Overall, the trip to Tikal was amazing and I would highly recommend it. There was a bit of a hiccup with communication between our guides so we didnt eat lunch until around 4pm, but we were smart enough to bring loads of water and protein bars. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating a larger breakfast to help combat some of these situations that I knoe will continue to happen during my travels.