Located in the north-east of Guatemala, Tikal is considered one of the country’s most well-preserved Mayan site. Towering, steep-sided temples soar more than 44 metres tall, but most visitors to Tikal will leave most impressed by the picturesque jungle setting. Exploring the site is a peaceful experience – wandering between open plazas and restored temples beneath a canopy of lush rainforest; step lightly and you’ll likely encounter monkeys, agoutis and parrots.
In its first life as a village, Tikal was inhabited from around 300 BC and grew into an important city where palaces and pyramids once stood. Today, the site is no less impressive and some of the buildings date back some 2,500 years – though have undergone necessary renovations to preserve them for many centuries to come. The size of the site is so vast, there are still temples half-hidden within the rainforest and those feeling brave – and sure of foot – can climb the enormous structures for amazing views across the canopy and the surrounding temples. Best visited early morning or late afternoon, beat the crowds and enjoy the raucous, eerie tones of the howler monkeys high up in the trees.
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