“My God, It’s Full Of Stars.”

“My God, It’s Full Of Stars.”

 

A picture worth (a trillion) stars:

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More on this picture — and another with a shooting star — in the rest of this entry…

Although I came for the sunrise above Tikal’s famous Mayan ruins, it’s afternoon light is no less impressive.

It’s been pretty much straightforward since our last update: we arrived in Flores, took a 10am 1.5 hr shuttle bus to Tikal’s parking lot, and started our day among the jungle and ruins.

 

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The road to Tikal

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Beware of crossing jaguars…

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…and wild turkeys…

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…or snakes…

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…or the racoon-related tropical pisotes…

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…and sure enough we came across one.

 

The only really tough decision you have to make is whether or not to stay overnight back in Flores or within the Tikal grounds itself. If you choose the (pricier) latter, you have the only chance at seeing Tikal by sunrise (But that’s for tomorrow’s entry). Once you buy your ticket at the booth (around 150 Quetzales which is close to $20 USD), be prepared for a small hike before you actually get to see some temples. But before arriving there, make sure you stop and admire some nature along the way. Of all the Mayan ruins, Tikal is possibly the only one actually still covered by a real jungle.

  

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A silkworm in the middle of the road!

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Ants hard at work

 

And then from  a dense blanket of nature, you suddenly notice a hint of temples peeking through the jungle. Come at the right time in the afternoon and you may be lucky enough to be the only person to play among these sacred grounds. And for a moment it may seem as if you’re the first spelunker, rediscovering a set of ancient ruins before the rest of the world finds out. Congratulations, Indiana Jones. You made it to Tikal.

 

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Tikal just got served.

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Tikal just got served, again.

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Unfortunate graffiti inside one of the temples.

 

To see all of Tikal, you need at least 4-5 hours in covering at least 10km of trails. We elected to explore Tikal in the late afternoon as that afforded us the pleasure of having the whole place to ourselves as well as catching the sunset in time.

 

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The ultimate showstopper, however, was to be able to also be out and about in the darkness of night…

 

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Do you see the shooting star around the top right corner?

 

Can’t end an entry better than this.

EDIT (5min later): Yes I can. I managed to publish this entry about 30 seconds before they’re about shut off all the electricity and hot water within a 5 mile radius of this park (they take this nature conservation bit seriously!)…15 seconds left…boo-yah!

- At time of posting in Tikal, it was 77 °F -

Humidity: 88% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: few clouds