By , August 21, 2011 5:52 pm
Despite the fact that we left Mexico a little "ruined out" (6 different ruin sites in only two weeks will do that to a person)  we couldn't pass by Flores without a day trip to the Mayan ruins of Tikal.

Tikal Ruins

We booked a 4 hour English tour (the tour actually lasted 5 hours) from one of the many tour companies in Flores for 110 Q per person plus an additional 15 Q for an open return time.  It included door-to-door transport from our hotel to Tikal and back.  It did not include the entrance fee to Tikal which was a hefty 150 Q per person.  At this time, $1 CAD = 8 Q Tikal turned out to be well worth the expense, especially the tour guide.  We thought we were going on a sunrise tour, since we were picked up at our hotel at 4:45 am, but by the time we arrived at the gates it was already 6:00 am and the sun was well up.  Our tour group was large (somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30 people), but we weren't disappointed when it came to animal sightings. Our guide expertly dug a tarantula out of it's ground nest and beckoned for me to come over for this lovely photo op:

When your tour guide is holding a tarantula, points at you, and says "come here and open your mouth," you know what's coming...

When we heard the distinctive howls of some howler monkeys, he tracked them down with his own calls.  Mike managed to record the actual monkey's cries:

Howler Monkey

He also spotted spider monkeys, coatimundis, a grey fox, and an emerald toucan, among numerous other flora and fauna.  As much as Mike and I try to be aware of our surroundings, we would have missed out on most of this if it weren't for our fabulous guide, Luis.

Spider Monkeys

The ruins themselves are worth a mention.  It rained for most of the morning (it is in a rainforest, after all) and the cloudy, misty surroundings were a nice backdrop to see the ruins.

According to Luis, our experience would not be complete without capturing this jumping picture... I think he was right

Luis asked for the guards permission to climb a few of the structures that were off limits to visitors, so I think we got to see a little more of Tikal than the average person (then again, maybe every tour guide tells their group that).

Mike passing over the "Do Not Pass" barricade

One of the steep temples we climbed

7 Responses to “No Tour of Tikal is Complete Without a Tarantula in Your Mouth”

  1. Randy says:

    Hi guys, looks like you are having a blast … Helen tells me you are doing the Spanish lessons as well … that always comes in handy. Enjoy … Our Belize trip with one of our owners went very well. Looking forward to seeing you out at our place when the time is right. RL

    • Thanks for checking in Randy. We made a hard decision to head south to Lake Atitlan instead of east to Belize, but after three weeks in Mexico we were itching to learn some Spanish. I hope the timing works out next time… your place in Belize looks fantastic!

  2. June Cubbon says:

    Wow!! These pictures are great. They demonstrate what a spectacular sight these ruins are! Thanks. (I’m envious)

    • Thanks Auntie June! I think our photography skills are improving little by little as we travel… or maybe we’re just deleting more of the duds. Hope everything is well back at home!

  3. Randy says:

    Let me know as much in advance as you can when you will be around Belize as I am usually flexible on when I go down.

  4. Jaime says:

    Oh I remember going here as if it was yesterday. Did you climb the steep stairs? Ahh that was an insane climb & scary!

    • Ashley Lenzen says:

      Yep… we climbed the steep stairs, and we’ll never forget it. They were insane! They were actually supposed to be shut down to the public when we were there because the guard rail was loose at the bottom, but our guide gave us the go ahead to climb them… loose rail and all!

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