A former stronghold of the Maya Empire, the towering ruins of Tikal are amongst the most expansive and fascinating historic sites on Earth.

Showcasing the ingenuity of the Maya, Tikal is one of few places declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for both its historic and natural importance. The largest excavated site in the Americas at over 350km2, it’s impressive stonework is surrounded by a dense canopy of Guatemalan jungle. With a considerable portion of its 3,000 structures still unexplored, it would likely take several days to uncover all of Tikal’s secrets. Ranging from ceremonial temples to colossal pyramids, it’s incredible to think as many as 90,000 people once called this city their home.

things to do

  • The Grand Plaza is the centrepiece of the site, and you can climb Temple of the Masks for excellent views of the surrounding area, including the other nearby temples.
  • There is an incredible variety of wildlife such as howler monkeys, raccoon-like coatimundis and the elusive jaguar wandering through the surrounding jungle.
  • An icon of Maya culture, Temple IV is famous for its incredible views during sunrise and sunset, with neighbouring temples jumping out from beneath the canopy of trees.
  • The nearby Santa Elena is a pleasant change of pace, and its marketplace is an excellent choice to sample some of the local crafts and food.

best time to visit

November - April

This is dry season in Guatemala, with average daytime temperatures usually between 28-30°C. Bearing in mind Tikal’s location in the lowlands of Guatemala, there is always the possibility of encountering a few showers at any time of year.

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