In school I was always fascinated by pyramids and of course the most famous of pyramids are in Egypt. I was enthralled by those but what really caught my attention were the stone monuments in Guatemala or rather the Maya civilization and how they lived. The monuments and temples looked majestic in a completely different way than the Egyptian pyramids. Perhaps it’s because they are surrounded by the forest and hidden away. I’m not sure but they are just as extraordinary in their history as any other temple you come across.
The Maya, an ancient civilization that existed for a short period of time lived in Tikal, Guatemala. They constructed pyramids, temples and palaces for their people. They are known for their use of the number zero and the calendar. There are approximately 3,000 buildings that still remain but less than a dozen pyramids are still in existence; each having its own name from The Temple of the Masks to The Temple of the Jaguar Pries. Not only is the temple named after the jaguar, a select group that governed over the Maya called Jaguar Clan Lords ruled this area.
Depending on when you travel to Guatemala to see the temples will determine what your experience will be. In the morning you’ll see and hear the spider monkeys. Howler monkeys are also in the area but not quite as visible. The toucan birds and coatimundis can be seen everywhere and of course there are jaguars in the area but the odds of seeing one are very slim.
During your tour you’re able to explore the area and climb the steps of the temples. You won’t be able to climb all of them but there are still a few where you’re able climb the steps and see the view from the top. You’ll notice archeologists still digging in the area as they are still exploring and discovering temples and remains. Just like every destination where you stay is up to you but I recommend spending a few extra dollars and staying in the park where you will be surrounded by nature and hear the sounds of the forest.