Big Travel Web: Hotel Reviews and vacation tips


The Maya ruins at Tikal National Park are quite possibly the most spectacular ruins in all of Latin America. Scattered throughout Tikal are towering pyramid temples looming above the jungle canopy, palaces, plazas, and stelae carved with Mayan hieroglyphics. Temple four has amazing views over the surrounding rainforest of Guatemala. The jungle setting also provides a marvellous opportunity for seeing wildlife at close quarters. Monkeys swing amongst the trees of the National Park and throughout the ruins and pyramids. Around 300 bird species have been recorded at Tikal National Park, and other sightings include spider monkeys, howler monkeys, deer, foxes and the occasional puma. Top tip for travel to Tikal, Guatemala: spend the night in the actual site. This is, of course, not allowed, but done by various tourists who visit the National Park on their tour of Guatemala. Temple 4 is a famous spot to overnight so that one can see the amazing sunrise the following morning, but the guards know this and will probably catch you, and demand a bribe to let you stay. A good after dark route into the ruins at Tikal is via the buildings to the right of the main entrance / pathway (as if you are looking at it). By these buildings is a small path that leads through the forest about 500 metres and into the actual Mayan site of Tikal.

Tikal Hotels:

Flores is just 40 minutes from the ruins at Tikal, and most tourists end up staying there, or on the road between Flores and the entrance to Tikal. There's just one hotel in the National Park itself.

Tikal Jungle Lodge - This basic lodge is superbly located in the National Park of Tikal, right beside the entrance to the Mayan ruins themselves. Because it is set within the jungle, monkeys and toucans are often seen in the grounds. There are 30 simple rooms, electricity cuts out from time to time, and the restaurant is rather poor. However, for those short of time, it's best to spend the night here as it's right next to the ruins.

Flores / Road to Tikal Hotels:

Camino Real - The Camino Real is located on the shores of Lake Peten Itzá on the road between Flores and the Mayan pyramids of Tikal. The Camino Real has 70 air conditioned rooms, a good restaurant and a large swimming pool. The hotel is the most comfortable option in the Tikal area of Guatemala, as such it's the best option for luxury tours.

La Lancha Hotel - located on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá and 10 km from the main road between the mayan ruins of Tikal and Flores, La Lancha is owned by the film director Francis Ford Coppola (the other hotels he owns nearby are Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize's Mountain Pine Ridge and Turtle Inn in Placencia). There are 10 bungalows (no air conditioning) that are either jungle or lake view. As well as swimming or kayaking on the lake, the La Lancha offers fishing and bird watching tours, sunrise hikes, boat tours, and of course, day tours to Tikal. The area is rich in wildlife and good for wildlife viewing - there is more to do at La Lancha than just visit the ruins at Tikal.

Villa Maya Hotel - This secluded lodge is located ten minutes drive from Flores and 45 minutes from Tikal ruins. Villa Maya has 50 rooms, a swimming pool, and kayaks can be hired to explore the lake upon which it is situated.

Guatemala's Mayan Ruins of Tikal.
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