A while back I added a new category to the blog called My Favorite Things and I wrote a post about Porto, Portugal. It got a little long-winded but I think it was pretty solid. Now though, I’m going to change up what this category is all about.
As I write posts, I always keep my eye on the word count feature and cringe as it rises. Will readers get bored? Am I going off on too many tangents? So in an effort to mix up my blog content and give a little break between lengthy posts, I’m changing the category to Friday’s Five Favorite Things: short and sweet posts about some of my favorite places.
So here I go: Tikal.
I’ve been to Tikal twice and found it to be completely awesome both times. Awesome as in not just neat but truly awe-inspiring. The Tikal ruins are some of the largest of their kind. I’m not really a history buff and no one really wants to read my regurgitation of random Wikipedia facts so I’ll point anyone who is interested in learning more to this Smithsonian article.
In no particular order, here are my favorite things about Tikal:
1. Tikal is tall
The Copan ruins may have a lot of details (yeah, there’s a dancing Jaguar) but Tikal is a monster. The chance to see something so amazing on this kind of scale doesn’t come up very often so if you get the chance, go for it… and then back up so you can get it all in the picture.
2. What lies beneath…
My first experience with Mayan ruins was at a small, mostly unexcavated site in Belize and I was hopelessly naive about the discoveries of the world. It was my assumption that if we, as humans, knew something existed, we’d done everything in our power to dig it up and learn about it. Don’t judge me too harshly, I was just a teenager.
So as we explored, our guide pointed out that all the little hills around us were simply buried temples that hadn’t been dug out yet. You could not have shocked me more had you told me they were massive ant hills.
Tikal too is home to many of these discovered yet undiscovered mounds of dirt and the mystery of what they represent is both frustrating and fascinating at the same time.
3. Baby, it’s a wild world
Howler monkeys do not make a predictable sound. If you’ve never heard one watch this video below. It’s a very big and very odd sound and is completely jarring when it happens right over your head.
4. Photo-op here, photo-op there, photo-ops are everywhere
No explanation needed. Great places produce great photos.
5. It’s not in America, the land of the litigious and the home of the frivolous lawsuit.
Okay, so Tikal is technically in the Americas, but you get the joke. Litigious folks who ruin the fun of the rest of us don’t have a leg to stand if they’re standing in another country. I can’t speak for the whole world, but I can speak for every country I’ve ever been to besides the US when I say that awesome places presented without the fear of lawsuits are a lot more fun to explore and with common sense, they can still be (somewhat) safe.
And because I ended the Porto post with a little touch of telling-it-how-it-is truth. Here’s one thing about Tikal that was a little less than perfect…
6. The scary stairs
All in all, I give Tikal a must-see seal of approval. A tour is well-worth the price so you will know what you’re looking at. Plan either toting a lot of water around or buying over-priced water inside the park.
Here are a few more pictures…