Jan 8, 2015


On my journey throughout Guatemala (and my head) I knew I wanted to take in a little bit more history than Antigua had to offer. Don't get me wrong, Antigua is rich in history, but I wanted to see ruins and artifacts and true Mayan culture.

What is a girl to do when she is on the search for that? Book a trip with the local travel agency to visit Tikal. I got a deal for the bus fare there and back, shuttle to and from Guatemala City, Hotel, and price of admission.

A quick Google search will tell you that Tikal is rich in history while offering some incredible sites.

The city of Tikal is centered in a rainforest in the middle of Guatemala. Some of the ruins in Tikal date back to the 4th century BC.

But let's reverse to getting to Tikal from Antigua. I got a deal for the bus fare there and back, shuttle to and from Guatemala City, hotel, and price of admission. You have two options (well three if you drive): take the bus or take a flight. I chose the bus.

The bus station is in the middle of Guatemala City and I got dropped off at 7 pm for a 10 pm overnight bus to arrive in Flores at about 6 in the morning.  Mind you I was dropped off alone in the middle of a city where they say to not be alone. That was intimidating for sure. Everything was fine and I ended up meeting a girl from New York (who grew up in Japan) and a girl from Switzerland. It was nice to have people who spoke English be on the same bus as me.

Now this bus. It is a luxury coach as they describe it. Which means you have assigned seats and the seats have plenty of legroom, but you are still on a bus for 8 hours. The seats recline but again, you are on a bus for 8 hours. And then there is the other issue. It's bloody freezing in that bus. Like put on all the clothes you own and then put on about 87 more layers freezing.

At promptly 6 in the morning we were dropped off in the city of Flores. Not at a bus station, just a curve in the road. All very strange to me. But I had learned when in Guatemala you just go with the flow. If you don't you are in for a world of hurt.

After some sharp words to the hotel manager, I had a room and a nap and was on the mission of my life for some breakfast. Now Flores is a city surrounded by a lake. It is absolutely gorgeous. This was my breakfast view.

Flores is a beautiful city. But rather boring. Like really boring.

After a 0400 wake up call for a 0430 bus ride out to Tikal, I was more than ready to get this history lesson started.

Our guide was knowledgeable and greatly charismatic. He called all of us his family which is always fun. He spoke beautiful English, but there is an option to have a Spanish guide. I think it's great that they offer both and you can talk to your guide in Spanish and practice a bit. And let's be honest, practice is what I need more of all the time (with most aspects of my life).

Into a rainforest we went. A beautiful rainforest with smatterings of old Mayan temples throughout.

I'll let the pictures do the talking because there is a lot of history which I presume in this New Year of 2015 you all can do.

eye bags courtesy of that 0400 wake up call.

self timer for the win.

i'll leave you with this though. Tikal means the city of sounds and when you stand in the city center you can clap and it echos throughout. But not only does the city echo, you can hear birds chirping throughout, monkeys howling, and you can almost hear the vegetation growing.

absolutely visit Tikal and take in what was once and honestly still is a very majestic city.