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.
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:
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.
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 and Ashley Lenzen are a married couple from Canada. They spent 21 consecutive months globe trotting between July 6th, 2011 and March 24th, 2013. After two months of touring their own country, they've set out again.
They are currently volunteering for 12 months in the country of Bhutan. Read More...
Last updated January 20, 2014 Statistics kept from July 6, 2011 to present
Countries visited: 20 Total distance traveled: 102,848 km # of different "beds" slept in: 165 More RTW Stats...