El Petén

The most striking feature of Tikal is its towering, steep-sided temples, rising to heights of more than 44m, but what distinguishes it is its jungle setting. Much of the delight of touring the site comes from strolling the broad causeways, originally built of packed limestone to accommodate traffic between temple complexes. By stepping softly you’re more likely to spot monkeys, agoutis, foxes and ocellated turkeys.

Tikal is a popular day trip from Flores or El Remate, so it is much quieter in the late afternoon and early morning, which makes an overnight stay an attractive option.

Tickets purchased after 3pm are valid for the whole next day.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby El Petén attractions

1. Templo V

0.05 MILES

Templo V is a remarkably steep structure (57m high) that was built sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries AD. It consists of seven stepped platforms…

2. Acrópolis del Sur


Excavation has hardly even begun on the mass of masonry just west of the temple, known collectively as the Acrópolis del Sur (South Acropolis). The…

3. Acrópolis Central

0.15 MILES

South and east of the Gran Plaza, this maze of courtyards, little rooms and small temples is thought by many to have been a palace where Tikal's nobles…

4. Plaza de los Siete Templos

0.18 MILES

To the west of the Acrópolis del Sur is this broad grassy plaza, reached via a path to its southern edge. Built in the Late Classic Period, the seven…

5. Templo I


Templo I, the Templo del Gran Jaguar (Temple of the Grand Jaguar), was built to honor – and bury – Ah Cacao. The king may have worked out the plans for…

6. Templo II

0.22 MILES

Templo II, also known as the Temple of the Masks, was at one time almost as high as Templo I, but it now measures only 38m without its roofcomb. It's best…

7. Acrópolis del Norte

0.25 MILES

The Acropolis del Norte predates the nearby temples significantly. Archaeologists have uncovered about 100 different structures, the oldest of which dates…

8. Templo III

0.28 MILES

West of the Gran Plaza, across the Calzada Tozzer (Tozzer Causeway) stands Templo III, still undergoing restoration. Only its upper reaches have been…