Saturday, 18 August 2012

TIKAL - HISTORY OF THE MAYA

Apparently a visit to Central America without Tikal,is equivalent to going to Egypt without a look at the pyramids. Well, the ancient Maya archaeological site of Tical also has pyramids, for that matter! From the lake island of Flores Leana and I cycled north-east into the jungle, in search of the past. The cycle to Tikal was not very far, but there were some hills and rain along the way. The Maya ruins of Tikal are situated way out in the jungle, in the National Park which is more than 500 sq km in area. From the park gate it was still a 17 km cycle through dense jungle to the visitor centre and the camp ground. This is a misty, rainy, jungle, so luckily the camp sites had thatched shelters and cement floors. There are lots of wild animals in the park, and even that evening in the camp site we had visitors (wild turkeys, other birds, and various furry creatures with long and short tails, including the noisy howler monkeys). There were also the scarce and very shy impressive Tucan birds with their huge schnozzles (if they were able to introduce themselves, they would probably say:- "Just call me BILL"). At 6 AM the following morning we ducked into the Maya site as the gate opened. The excavated remnants at the site are spread out over quite a large area in the jungle, and it takes at least 4 hours to walk around and see all the sites. I had often seen pictures of the biggest attractions, the pyramid temples. However, these amazing structures are much larger than I had anticipated, jutting out above the jungle canopy for as much as 70 m in height. Early on the misty weather added a sense of surrealism to the scene, and there were few other tourists to break the spell. By the time we had done our thing and were on our way out, we met the busloads of incoming tourists. At the camp site we had some lunch, and then we packed up and cycled back to the junction town from where we will be heading East towards Belize, our next country. Daily distances cycled since Honduras have been:- Chiquimula (Guatemala) 64 km; Rio Hondo 36 km; Quirigua 65 km; Rio Dulce 74 km; San Luis 89 km; Flores 123 km; Tikal 67 km; El Remate 34 km57 The total distance cycled so far on this journey is 97 157 km.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi ernest and leana,
great pictures and storys......
how do you like the steep uphills in guatemala??? your bike looks heavyer then before............

saludos
hannes and annelies

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