Published: April 11th 2012February 24th 2012
As we continued on an outer circle around the ruins, we came across some areas called complexes which were identified with letters instead of numbers. The complexes did not features such large temples, and some none at all. The one thing that they all did feature was a set of impressive hieroglyphic rock carvings (the best of which are now in museums) which contained the text of the ancient Maya.
After having visited a few of these complexes, we noticed that the clouds started lifting at which point we decided to start making our way back to Temple IV – now about 25 minutes away. As we were walking through a trail in which we didn't encounter another visitor of park, we heard a crash in the trees above us and soon realized that there were two spider monkeys directly above us. After a few minutes of snapping a ton of pictures we walked away with maybe only a couple good ones.
Arriving at the base of Temple IV, we saw a tour group of about 40 Asians and even more cameras that pulled up on a truck. Upon seeing this, we rushed to the stairs and went up
for the second time as fast as possible knowing that we'd only have about 10 minutes before the top of the temple would be packed and every good picture opportunity would be taken. We reached the top which wasn't in the peaceful desolate setting from which we left - it was now quite full of park visitors. Still, we were able to get some good pictures of other temples.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the view from Temple IV after the hype about it that I'd heard from other people. It was good, but I believe that the haunting morning views throughout other areas of the ruins were significantly better. As the mass of people reached to top (along with two more tour groups), we made our way down and started back tracking to spend some more time in the Grand Plaza; which we both felt we had left prematurely earlier in the morning.
On the way back, we came across a local grounds keeper who had worked at the park some seven years. He showed us a great deal of the local plants including the historical remedies from which the Maya used them.
honestly cannot remember the names of the trees and plants which he showed us, but came away with a new appreciation for all the uses of them and privelidged that he was nice enough to give us a few minutes of his time.
From there we backtracked a bit, seeing some ruins from earlier in the morning along with some new ones. Over the next two hours we made our way out of the park.
Near the ruins' entrance there was, as my dad would say, “a big ass tree,” in front of which we got a picture like most visitors to the park. We then got back to the drop off point from the morning and waited for our 12:30 pm shuttle feeling exhausted and glad that we had run through the park, seen so many amazing sites, and had made the right decision not to go with a guide.
I'm not saying that having a guide a Tikal is a mistake, but I believe that given how massive the park is, one needs at least three days to truly explore the park. If you have that time, definitely get a guide. If you have only
a few hours, take in as much as you can, then find a way to gain a deeper understanding of that amazing history behind the place that you just saw.
There are more photos below