So.... here we go where we left off. Our Awesome Christmas Trip!
DAY TWO: TIKAL
Tikal was one of the largest Mayan cities.
It's HUGE! The residential area of Tikal covers around 23 sq miles. It's estimated that 500,000 people lived in and around the city of Tikal. There are loads of temples and archeological sites and they say there are at least three hundred more unearthed.
Now that you have the feel for the size of this Guatemalan National Park, time for some pictures!
Our day started out with a drive through the still forested areas of Tikal. There are all kinds of protected animals inside the park. Here is James with a Jaguar Crossing sign. That's right, Jaguars.
Once we got into the park there were so many things to see. We had so mich fun walking around and taking pictures. We saw really tall temples, religious carvings, the Ceiba (Guatemala's national tree and a sacred tree to the Mayans), palaces, and we climbed them all using rickety wooden stairs!
During our trip James was amazed how many jaguars you could hearing roaring through the forest. He was even more amazed, however, when I told him that it wasn't jaguars but monkeys making that noise. Insert James' introduction to and obsession with the howler monkeys. We found two groups of monkeys yelling at each other and recorded their howls. Pretty cool huh?
There were also entrances sign to the park warning visiters about these little devils. Apparently, as if they weren't load enough, howler monkeys like to make sure you know they are there. They do this by pooping on people's heads. Many a traveler has left the park covered in monkey fecal matter. I was crossing my fingers and hoping it would happen to James, but alas, we emerged clean.
All of the ruins were MASSIVE, especially the temples. However, the palaces were very grand as well. You can see James standing up in the left hand corner of this picture on the top of one palace. This was just a small part of the palace which opened up into a ball playing court surrounded by other towers. It's really impossible to describe how big Tikal really is.
We got lots of pictures in front of the Great Jaguar in the Grand Plaza, one of the most famous temples in Tikal.