MelonsWorld contributor

Tikal Mayan Ruins


The ancient Mayan citadel of Tikal is truly one of the most fascinating man-made creations on Earth. Hidden deep in the lush rainforests of northern Guatemala, a visit to these remarkable ruins in Flores is not to be missed on your Central America itinerary!


Tikal was officially discovered in 1848 but before that, this Mayan citadel went completely unnoticed for hundreds of years. 

Why? Because when the Mayans abandoned Tikal back in the day, nature took over and the temples became overgrown in thick vegetation making it near impossible to see the stone structures behind the shrubs.

When the Spanish came through north Guatemala in the 1500s, they never discovered or reported findings of any structures as they were completely covered in soil, bushes, trees and just looked like a hilly area, so to speak.

Tikal covers an area of 64 square kilometers and there are said to be more than 4000 stone structures scattered across these lands with many more still yet to be uncovered. It takes archaeologists years of careful excavations to uncover and preserve these incredible temples of Tikal.

Each temple you will see on the Tikal tour took more than 50 years to construct and they were built to honor the gods. There are 35 gods in the Mayan culture with the most important gods being sun, rain and corn.

Tikal was declared at UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

For the first stop on our tour, we headed straight to the Grand Plaza which is home to Temple I, Temple II, Acropolis del Norte and Acropolis Central. The Grand Plaza is the most popular spot to visit on the Tikal tour so if you want to get photos without the crowds be sure to get there first thing. 

The next stop was Temple IV which is the tallest structure in the park, standing a whopping 70 meters high above the ground. To get to the top there is a set of wooden stairs located on the backside of the temple and it takes around 5 minutes to reach the viewpoint.

When you reach the summit of Temple IV, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the other Tikal temples and surrounding rainforests that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Next up on our tour was Plaza de Los Siete Templos (Plaza of the Seven Temples) which takes its name from a row of seven temples and features a central ball court. 

These particular ruins are much smaller than the other temples though they are equally as impressive, in my opinion. Plaza de Los Siete Templos has been very well preserved and not to be missed when visiting Tikal.

Last but not least on our tour was Temple V and my personal favorite of all. The grandeur size and its vibrant mossy exterior are just some of the features that make this Tikal temple so impressive.

It’s possible to climb the first few steps of Temple V to get a photo but it’s prohibited to go all the way to the top. 

On the right-hand side of Tikal Temple Five, you can see it has been completed excavated and uncovered, whereas the opposite side still remains hidden behind soil and bushes. 

My experience at Tikal was one I will not soon forget. As I mentioned earlier, the entire tour from start to finish was flawless and great value for money.

Tikal happened to be the last location that I visited during my travels in Guatemala and it was indeed the icing on the cake! It’s one of those places in the world that you need to visit at least once and experience it first hand. 

#travelmore, #backpacking, #mayanruins, #tikal