Tikal National Park has 576 sq. km of jungle and several thousand ruined structures. Located in Northern Guatemala.
Although long before the area had been visited by Spanish explorers, in 1848 that an expedition sponsored by the Guatemalan government is said officially discovered the ruins. British, Swiss, German followed and archeologists followed and begin studying the site.
Guatemalan Institute of Anthropology and History with The Museum of the University of Pennsylvania worked during dry seasons and partially restored Tikal’s structures thru the 1950s and 1960s. UNESCO designated the ruins a World Heritage Site in 1979.
Today Tikal National Park many Guatemalans consider Tikal a national symbol and a source of pride in the past.
In 1989 and 1990 with help from National Geographic The Maya Biosphere was created. Tikal park is with in this million-hectare reserve created to protect the forests of the Petén from illegal logging and continued slash-and-burn agricultural practices.
A great attempt at protecting the forest This Biosphere has slowed deforestation but with its multi-use areas the biosphere still loses large areas to some kind of farming.
Covering about 14 sq. kilometers the main central area of this ruined city includes 3,000 structures. Tikal is the only Maya ruins with five very large temples plus pyramids.
Most popular structures visited are Main Plaza that includes Temples 1 (on the east end of the main plaza) and not allowed to climb. Temple 2 or Temple of the Masks 2 (west end of the plaza), the North acropolis and the palaces and small Maya ball court on the south side.
Temple 4 (the highest) being the most popular for that very special photo of sunrise you see with temples 1,2, & 3 protruding from the dense jungle.
Over the years there have been several deaths and many injuries when falling from the temples. There are almost no rail or protections from falling. Temple 1 has been closed to climbing since the late 1970s, mostly because of safety.
From the top of these pyramids, Maya astronomers tracked the movements of visible planets and their locations to aid in the constructions plans.
With some disagreement, many Archeologists calculate that the Maya settled in the area of Tikal in about 850 or 900 BC.
Tikal Park is lively with an abundance of insects, birds, animals and other wildlife, plus an enormous list of orchids and tropical vegetation species.
There are Tourist police stations Flores and El Remate who will assist you. En Flores call or visit Proatur
En El Remate
From anywhere in the country Dial 1500
Tips & Recommendations
Best to buy your tickets the day before for quicker entry In March of 2017 new regulations require the all tickets be purchased at the Park entrance or in any Banrual bank. This has caused a problem for those who want to take very early or very late tours that are done between 4-6am or 6-8pm, since banks are closed on Sundays and holidays.
- Only bottle or canned drinks are sold within the ruins area
- Read about Tikal before you leave
- Good comfortable walking shoes,
- Snacks, Lunch & water
- Sun protection and rain protection
- Insect repellent, a cap or hat.
- Flash light if going in dark areas or on daybreak tour.
- A good guide with wildlife interest will enhance your visit.
- Compass, if entering the off-trail areas.
- Take cash for drink purchases.
- Info to read on ruins & wild life. leave no trash in the park
- When caught in the rain don’t stand under or near large trees.
- Don t give personal information on your activities or your family to strangers.
- This is how “virtual extortions” are carried out
- Its safest to travel with credit cards rather than debit cards
About area Tours
All types of tours are offered from Flores and El Remate hotels and agents. Contact your hotel info and tour services and be sure you are purchasing your ticket from a responsible company. (more in construction)
Tikal National Park is normally open daily for visits from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Adult tickets for foreigners cost 150 GTQ (about $20 USD at present exchange rates).
Children under 12 can enter Tikal free of charge. To visit Uaxactun ruins it costs 50 GTQ.
If you wish to take the daylight tour so you can’t enter the park before 6:00 AM, the ticket fee is 250 GTQ (Guatemalan Quetzals). If you wish to stay for the after 6:00 pm you pay 100GTG
Tickets purchased after 3:00 PM are also valid for the next day.