Latin America 2011: Day 5: Tikal to San Ignacio
The biggest Mayan ruin on the trip (at least the second half): Tikal in Guatemala. A UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its peak between 200 to 900 AD and covered a huge area, more than 6 square miles (16km^2) with 3,000 structures, and an estimated 10,000 to 120,000 inhabitants (or more!).
Even for the uninitiated-- such as myself-- Tikal is amazing, with an elaborate canal and reservoir system, several massive temples, including Temple IV (at 70 meters/230 feet high), and for the Star Wars fans, flashbacks to the Battle at Yavin scenes which were inspired by this very site. We had pouring rain most of the time that did little to dampen just how impressive the site is.
After changing out of our soaked clothes, a simple lunch in El Remate, then 3 hours to the border with Belize, where we crossed the border, took a short taxi ride to San Ignacio, and had a tasty dinner at Ko-ox-han-nah.