Tikal National Park

Best quotes during this portion of our trip brought to you by Kyle:

"We're Tikal-ing this part of our trip a good one."
"We hope rain doesn't RUIN our tour."
"Maya, what a pyramid!"

We took an overnight bus to Tikal National Park since it was a 7 hour drive. We figured it'd be better to sleep through the ride. Kyle slept better than I did on our bus. Although it was a nice 1st class bus, the clanking of the ride with the bright lights from the road woke me up every now and then. The seats reclined, but the one in front of me sat a little on top of my legs which made for a claustrophobic trip. We arrived in Flores bright and early at 5:00 a.m. and struggled to be able to find the group that would take us up to Tikal. Eventually we figured out that they were planning on taking us up around 9:30 but there was a nice man (also trying to make money) offering to drive us up for a price. We ended up heading up and got to our hotel around 6:30 a.m. Luckily they had a room for us available and we freshened up and had breakfast. The hotel then told us that we were listed for a tour even though we originally said we didn't want one. We were so glad we got one in the end because we learned so much than we probably would have and had an amazing lunch after hiking through Tikal. 

Tikal was beautiful! Very humid and hot but we had little moments of wind and clouds. We started out walking down the jungle paths and passed by a crocodile pond. We then made it to the first temple where our guide told us that the park is only 30% uncovered! There was a temple we climbed up that was still covered halfway with dirt and trees. You wouldn't have known anything was there because it looked just like a small hill. Once we reached the top of the hill, we spotted a spider monkey just hanging out on the branches of a tree by the temple.
I love this guy's smile.
Spider monkey hanging in the tree!
We came down and saw the stone structures (stela) that the current king/rulers would create for others to remember them. 
This was a temple that had not been uncovered.
We continued on and saw the next two big temples with the palaces and where the royals lived on one side and the administration building on the other. We climbed around there for a while and spotted a wild turkey. The tour guide said they tend to chase anyone who they feel threatened by so we tried not to get too close. We walked past the third temple which is still under reconstruction. There were news companies that came out to film on Tikal when the Mayan calendar ended in 2012, hoping to see the end of the world on that site. Afterwards, someone didn't take down an antenna and the temple got struck by lightning. They are currently reconstructing it since they don't want it to topple down. 
Our tour guide found this guy on the way in.....gulp.
We ended at the fourth and also tallest temple and got an amazing view of the other three temples and canopy of the jungle. We came down and had lunch while we heard the sounds of the howler monkeys in the distance along with a variety of tropical birds. 
We went back to the hotel and took a dip in the pool which was very refreshing. We laid out by the pool and learned the names of the birds we were hearing and seeing including a toucan, a brownjay and a pendula. We also ran into a frog and a garden snake that was blue and green colored. We read until dinner time where Kyle ordered the biggest plate of nachos I have ever seen! I tried to help him finish them but even then, the plate didn't get cleared. Kyle also introduced me to a pineapple soft drink called Tikki Piña and it is my new favorite drink. Kyle said he has yet to find them in the states but that doesn't mean I am not going to start another search. Since it requires a lot of energy for them to use electricity in the jungle, they limit the power time from 6:00 a.m. To 8:00 a.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. We got in earlier but not before taking a walk through some of the paths of the jungle located by the hotel.
We got up early and had breakfast in the vacant restaurant. The whole inn seemed pretty vacant besides those who came and went to the park. The hotel found us a ride into Flores. On the ride back, we were riding when we spotted a tiny Jaguar cub cross the street! It was so neat to see one and it made it seem like a deep jungle even more. Our driver let us stop by Lake Peten for pictures. He said crocodiles are found in there but it is mainly guarded by the giant crocodile shaped hill at the base of the lake.

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