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Sunday, 11 February 2007

Surviving the Mayan Ruins of Tikal - Page 5

Written by Thomas Lera and Sandy Fitzgerald
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We had our first glimpse of Tikal on the TV reality show, Survivor – Guatemala. Seeing it in real life is so much more amazing! It is Guatemala’s most famous cultural and nature preserve. Many call it one of the most spiritually powerful spots on earth. Its towering temples loom out of the thick jungle canopy and are reminiscent of stoic sentinels. Like all unexplained mysteries, it is fascinating and so irresistible

Where to Stay

Tikal National Park is located within the 6,000 square mile Maya Biosphere in the northern part of Peten, Guatemala, 63 kilometers from Flores, the capital of El Petén Province. About half an hour from the entrance of the National Park, with paved road access, it serves as a gateway to exploration of the area.

floresFlores is a tidy Spanish colonial village crowded onto an island hill in Lake Petén Itzá. Complete with paved streets, colonial buildings, craft shops, economical hotels and hospedajes, tiny cafés and restaurants with lakeside views, it is connected to the mainland and the town of Santa Elena by a half-kilometer causeway. Santa Elena is a wreck of a place, with dirt, rubble-strewn streets frequented by roaming cattle, pigs and chickens.

Any time I am in the Flores/Tikal area, I make a point of seeing the sun set over Lake Petén Itzá. The best place seems to be the Sunset Cafe, but the Casona and Hotel Peten 9 (Tel: 926-1692 Fax: 926-0662) aren’t bad. There is something wonderfully eerie about watching the lake darken as lights slowly come on from the other side. It is particularly poignant after a hard day exploring ruins.

Tikal visitors looking for hotels with air conditioning and hot water should stop at Hotel and restaurant La Casa De Don David in El Remate about 15 miles from the park entrance. Don David has lived for over 30 years in Peten. The lodge has 15 nice rooms with private baths. Reservations are $18- $26 per person with dinner or breakfast.  They offer great tips on how to get the most from your day in Tikal or on trips in the Tikal and Flores, Peten area. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 502-7928-8469.

Where to Eat

The Jaguar Inn, inside the park, ( is a favored restaurant. Keep in mind, however, none of the eating places in the area are "fast food" restaurants, so be sure to allow enough time for a leisurely meal.

How to Tour


Good licensed guides normally cost $40 for 1 to 4 persons, $10 for each additional person to a $75 maximum for a 3 ½ to 4 hours tour. Make sure your guide is fluent in your language and it wouldn’t hurt to have bought and at least scanned the guide book (mentioned above) on your flight over.

© Thomas Lera and Sandy Fitzgerald, 2006



(Page 5 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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