We left Chetumal around 7am and headed to the Mexico/Belize border where we had no problems getting our visa’s and our vehicle permit etc. to transit Belize. This time we had no intention of stopping in Belize, other than to have some brunch along the road. We stopped in again at Cheers restaurant where we had spent a night on our last visit.
From here we beelined to the Belize/Guatemala border. As we exited Belize and completed paying for our exit, we exchanged our Belizean dollars and some US dollars for Guatemalan Quetzals.
Entering Guatemala was pretty straight forward other than we could not pay for our Temporary Import Permit for our vehicle at the border, we would need to go into the town of Melchor de Mencos to pay at a bank which was only 100M/YDS across the bridge over the river. This would have been easy except while we were in the immigration building getting our visitor visa the heavens opened and a torrential down pour started. We waited around for a short while hoping it would decease, but to our chagrin it just kept on giving. We decided to get a taxi to the bank so negotiated with the driver for a return trip and off we went.
Once we returned to immigration with our receipt of payment, they completed the paperwork and we were allowed to continue into Guatemala, but not before paying a toll for crossing the bridge. This only applies to foreigners. All these payments had to be made in Quetzals.
Next stop, Melchor de Mencos to purchase a SIM card and cell service for our phones. Once complete we continued further into the countryside, our destination was Tikal. Tikal was about two-hour drive, one and half hours to the National Park gates. At the gates we had to pay the entrance fee then we could continue, the speed limit in the part is 40kmh/25mph and is strictly monitored.
When we arrived at Tikal, we stayed at the Jaguar Lodge, they allow camping, both tent and vehicular within the Lodge grounds providing tents (if needed), showers and toilets.
As we had entered a new country, the sixth to date we installed the Guatemalan flag on the back of our small home.
We had dinner in Lodge’s restaurant and ordered our first Guatemalan beer. Withw having a captive audience with being so remote the prices are on the expensive side for what they present but it meant we did not have to cook after another long day.
Next morning, we were up early, had some breakfast and started heading to the Tikal Archeological site. On the way we came across a couple of Coati, I think they were having a domestic!!!
We registered at the entrance to the site, picked up our map for $3US and entered to site around 7:30am.
After visiting a number of Mayan archeological sites over the last few months we were very surprised at the size of the site. This is the most impressive Mayan ruins we have visited.
We saw this creature as we headed into to site.
It was very hot this day, in the high 30s C, even at 7:30am just walking along the path to the site!
Tikal in all it’s glory, even if the following photos are just a small portion around the main plaza.
And the Star Wars shot!
Tikal (/tiˈkɑːl/) (Tik’al in modern Mayan orthography) is the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala. It is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala. Situated in the department of El Petén, the site is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, c. 200 to 900 AD. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacan in the distant Valley of Mexico. There is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century CE. Following the end of the Late Classic Period, no new major monuments were built at Tikal and there is evidence that elite palaces were burned. These events were coupled with a gradual population decline, culminating with the site’s abandonment by the end of the 10th century.
Tikal is the best understood of any of the large lowland Maya cities, with a long dynastic ruler list, the discovery of the tombs of many of the rulers on this list and the investigation of their monuments, temples and palaces. (Wikipedia)
After we returned to our home, we had some lunch then continued on to Flores located in Lago Peten Itza.
We spent a few days here enjoying Flores and San Miguel across the lake from Flores, two very nice towns.
Another Guatemalen beer “Gallo” with dinner.
We caught a local water taxi across to San Miguel.
The waterfront of San Miguel.
Lunchtime refreshments served up with Nachos before heading back to Flores.
Do you think there would be many safety infractions if this was performed in Canada or the US?
The ladder is tied of at the top while the worker climbed down from the roof, although he is wearing a harness but tied-off to the rebar.
We parked close to some other Overlanders from Germany, Stefan & Petra whom we shared some drinks with in the evening.
After a couple enjoyable days here, it was time to continue south as the temperatures were going to be 40+ C in the coming days.
Next: Rio Dulce