Piercing through the jungle canopy in northeast Guatemala, the temples at Tikal are an impressive site, with steep sided limestone pyramids reaching upwards of 60m. Smaller structures have been claimed by the jungle, with a tangle of roots clinging onto the rock, adding to the atmosphere of this ethereal place. At dawn and dusk, the jungle comes alive with the calls of monkeys and birds.
Located in north-eastern Guatemala, Tikal was the largest Maya city of the Classic era (AD 250-900) reaching a population of 75,000 at its height. It was once the cultural center of the New World (as revealed by the many tombs and artifacts that have been recovered), and its reconstructed architecture still tells the tale of its former inhabitants. Tikal speaks hauntingly of a lost world that was remarkably advanced for its time.
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Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala
Best for: Culture, Adventure
Francis Ford Coppola's secluded jungle retreat, La Lancha, is a charming hideaway located on the unspoiled shores of Lake Peten Itza and the most comfortable base for visiting the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal that rise majestically out of the rainforest.
Best for: Adventure, Culture, Off the beaten track, Wildlife
Set in the jungle overlooking Quexil Lagoon and near the great Mayan city of Tikal, Las Lagunas is a comfortable boutique lodge with just 19 suites. The lodge has a private reserve where wildlife, especially birds and monkeys, may be observed.