Our Birthday Beauty and an amazing shrimp & avocado salad.
When we finally made it to Tikal a few days later we were not disappointed. Before catching sight of any of the ruins, we were greeted by a massive Ceiba tree. This is Guatemala's national tree and they're pretty amazing. Beyond it's massive size and towering buttress roots, this tree was host to many epiphytes. You can see them all over the branches here.
Our first glimpse of the ruins!
The Central Acropolis
Above is the North Acropolis and the grounds within the grand plaza at Tikal. Not seen, but, to the left and right stand massive pyramids facing one another.
There she is. Tikal Temple I standing tall at 154 ft. Some of the structures here date back as far as 4th century BC. From around 200-900 AD Tikal reigned as one of the most powerful Mayan settlements economically, militarily and politically.
We brought our own food and had quite a nice picnic in the center of the grand plaza.
Temple II facing Tikal Temple I
Obviously had to snap some squinty selfies
It's amazing to look around and see the tops of other pyramids peeking out over the treetops. This was one of the filming site's for the first Star Wars movie.
The sun was intense and some rest and shade necessary...
...and then these guys came trottin' along
This is Temple IV. It is Tikal's tallest temple-pyramid, measuring 230 ft.
By the time we made it to this temple and climbed to where these people are sitting we had the whole thing to ourselves. It was great to sit up there and take it all in without the distraction of others around.
There are still many well preserved glyphs throughout the park. This is actually called a stelae, which is a carved stone sculpted with glyphs and figures.
The view from Temple IV looking out over the main plaza and another temple.
Run Raquelita, run!
Above is part of El Mundo Perdido
More in El Mundo Perdido, or, The Lost World
The Plaza of the Seven Temples
If ever visiting Tikal, be sure to stay later in the day until the park closes at 6. We pretty much had the whole place to ourselves after 3 or 4pm. We wandered and roamed about without seeing anyone else. It was so peaceful and took on a different feel entirely to be alone within this ancient world.
Temple V, the second largest at Tikal. This bad boy is 187 ft. tall and is the mortuary pyramid of a yet unidentified ruler. We made it to this pyramid with only minutes to spare before having to run back through the entire park so as to not miss our bus. The golden hour had struck and it was hard to pull ourselves away from these fascinating, glowing structures.