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Tikal

Written on: Monday August 3rd, 2009

A journal entry from: Cycle Mexico - Panama

August 1st - 2nd

We got up very early and strapped the bikes to the top of a minibus for the trip to Tikal. Once we arrived we found the campsite, setup camp, hung up the hammock and had a rest. We spotted a pizote (mammal related to a racoon) wandering about the campsite, eating an avocado that it had found on the ground. We had decided to visit the actual site in the afternoon and the next morning when the crowds would be thinner, the weather cooler and the animals more active.  

After lunch we headed off to the ancient city, following the paths cut through the dense jungle until we reached a clearing and had our first sight of part of the city. We were at the twin pyramid complex (complex Q), which consisted of two flat topped pyramids, a shrine and a palace. They looked well restored, but the jungle had still taken over much off them. We saw large stalae (standing stone monument of the Maya, usually carved) lying on the ground with trees growing through the middle of them. 

 After a 20 minute walk along the jungle paths we found our way to the great plaza, where Temple I, the Temple of the Grand Jaguar, was erected in the 7th century AD for King Moon Double Combs tomb. It is approximately 45m high, and stands opposite Temple II which was built around the same time and is slightly smaller at 38m. Completing the four sides of the plaza are the North Acropolis (sacred cemetery for rulers) and the Central Acropolis (political and administrative complex).

The plaza is core of the ancient city and the earliest parts of it, in the North Acropolis, date back to 400 BC. The North Acropolis had been built upon several times, older structures lying underneath newer ones. We saw two huge wall masks here, which had been uncovered underground. Overall this plaza, and the two huge pyramids, were impressive.

We took the long way back to the campsite, to enjoy the jungle scenery and hopefully spot some animals. We saw lots of spider monkeys, some toucans, parrots, a big spider, and a big bird walking on the ground that we couldnīt identify. 

The next day we visited the highest temple in the city, Temple IV, which stands 65m high. It is also known as the Temple of the Two Headed Snake. Iy was built in 745 AD by King Moon Double Comb. We climbed to the top to see the great views of the jungle and temples I and II poking above the canopy.

We went to Mundo Perdido (Lost World) which is a complex of 38 structures surrounding a huge pyramid. This pyramid was used for astronomical observations. 

Then we came to Temple V, which was the first pyramid constructed in Tikal in about 600 AD by the ruer Animal Skull. It had a much wider base and stairs than the other pyramids, and we thought that this one was particularly nice.

In the afternoon we took a bus to the town of Flores where we are now, and plan to head to Palenque (another Mayan site) in Chiapas, Mexico tomorrow. 

 

 

From BP on Aug 6th, 2009

Saw the diving video - fantastic range of sea life - particularly liked the ones with all the bubbles - no herrings though. Dad

From Andy & Yasmin on Aug 7th, 2009

Great that you got the parcel and that you enjoyed the video. Yes, we missed the herrings too, should have brought some pickled ones with us from Sweden ..... Hope you have a great time on the cruise!