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A 45-minute flight from Guatemala City to Flores in the steamy Petén region of northern Guatemala, Tikal's 3,000 temples, shrines, ceremonial platforms, ball courts and plazas lie in the heart of the jungle. A substantial portion of the complex remains unexcavated, and the site's jungle location gives it a mystical atmosphere; whether shrouded in dawn mist, or covered in tropical foliage. This little known park receives only around 200,000 visitors a year; a fraction of those at the other better-known Mayan and Incan sites

The most impressive of Tikal's structures are the six huge step pyramids or Temples I-VI, some towering over 200 feet above the humble tourist. Yet the majesty of Tikal is apparent wherever you are; craning your neck upwards, peering giddily downwards, or gazing across the Grand Plaza at the temple tops rising above the jungle canopy on the skyline.

Wildlife is plentiful and your visit will be accompanied by the sounds of chattering birds and howler monkeys, all adding to the unforgettable experience. Indeed, the Petén region contains over 800 species of trees, 57 species of reptile, and 500 species of birds. Tapirs, peccaries, and jaguars still roam the emerald forests.

Tikal can be visited as a day trip or an overnight trip staying in one of the rainforest lodges.

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Tikal National Park Itinerary Ideas

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Tikal mayan ruins at sunrise
If You Do Three Things
1
Mayan Ruins

The main attraction in Tikal National Park is the ancient Mayan ruins hidden deep within the remote jungle. Inhabited from as early as the sixth century BC, the ruins here are some of the most important left behind by the Maya civilisation and visitors can explore temples, palaces and ceremonial platforms. There are also many well-preserved stone carvings and murals depicting the city's relationship with other ancient urban centres.

Zip lining
If You Do Three Things
2
Jungle Adventure

Explore Ixpanpajul Natural Park via six suspension bridges, observing the unique flora and fauna from above and the beautiful views of the Peten jungle and Lake Peten Itza below. Make your way back to the ground in true action style on a zip-line adventure, traversing through the treetops.

Trogon bird
If You Do Three Things
3
Wildlife Spotting

Deep within the protected jungle, Tikal National Park is home to an array of diverse wildlife including 54 recorded mammal species and over 350 bird species including trogons, motmots, plenty of parrots, wild turkeys and manakins. While exploring the park and its Mayan ruins, keep an eye out for these wild animals. You may even be lucky enough to spot a jaguar.

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Tikal National Park
Tikal National Park
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A Note on Price

Like much of Central America, Guatemala represents good value in comparison to its South American counterparts. Antigua Guatemala is full of reasonably priced boutique hotels (costing around £100 a night), but in Atitlan and Tikal, we’d recommend you go all out and stay in the best hotels, which means that a 10-day trip to Guatemala could cost from £2,000 per person including flights.

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