We spent two days at the Tikal Parque Nacional in Guatemala. It surpassed all our expectations, and we were overwhelmed by the sights – both the ruins themselves and the jungle environment in which they are situated.
The ruins are extensive, and in various states from entirely overgrown to completely excavated and reconstructed. Some were off limits to climbing and touching, but many were free to be explored by either wooden scaffolding and stairway or their own stone steps.
A sense of immensity and reverence in the temples was strong, as these structures soared above the trees. I found them to be surprisingly in place in the jungle – it felt like they were part of the forest rather than intrusions upon it. That could partly be because most of the structures have plant life growing on them, so they now are, indeed, a part of the environment.
The jungle is home to lots of fascinating plans and animals. We were captivated by the wild orchids, picaya, vines, mushrooms and other flowers growing everywhere. We saw and heard woodpeckers, toucans, pizotes, frogs, ants, butterflies, grasshoppers and both spider and howler monkeys.