Justin Foulkes


The most striking feature of Tikal is its towering, steep-sided temples, rising to heights of more than 144ft (44m), but what distinguishes it is its jungle setting. Its many plazas have been cleared of trees and vines, its temples uncovered and partially restored, but as you walk from one building to another you pass beneath a dense canopy of rainforest amid the rich, loamy aromas of earth and vegetation. Much of the delight of touring the site comes from strolling the broad causeways, originally built from 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.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Tikal.

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