December 2001 - big trip - diary - guatemala - december 2001


Ceiba tree

Muddy jungle roads

Our 'campsite' in Jungle Lodge Hotel

Tuesday 11 - Thursday 13 December

We headed north into the Peten jungle to try and make it to Yaloch but were thwarted by very boggy tracks made worse by recent heavy rains. Camping so close to the troubled Belize border could have been a bit dangerous with recent shootings of Guats by Belizean soldiers in this area. However, we had a peaceful night, broken only by the mad roaring of howler monkeys. The few people who passed by us were very friendly, even the ones with guns.

Thanks to two fans from Guatemala, Roberto and Ricardo, we were invited to camp at the Jungle Lodge Hotel in the grounds of Tikal. It was great to have the use of hot showers and the swimming pool after a hard days exploring the fascinating ruins.

North side of Grand Plaza from Temple II

Jaguar temple

The Grand Plaza

Behind the Grand Plaza

Original timbers

View across the jungle from Temple IV

Tikal is one of the most significant Maya sites and once occupied an area of 100 square kilometres. All but two of the pyramids can be climbed and the surrounding jungle is full of wildlife including toucans and plenty of spider and howler monkeys.

Here we met once again with the patched up Fridge who'd coincidentally camped beside Stuart and Chris, the motorbikers we'd met at Calakmul. These guys had had some very bad luck in Belize, while swimming in Blue Hole after the guard had left for home, two men armed with a gun and a machete stole almost all of their possessions. We donated a mosquito net and arranged to meet up later in Antigua for a few Gallos.

Side view of the Jaguar Temple

Temple V, still under restoration

Columns in Group G

We wanted to make another attempt to see El Mirador so we got special permission to drive through the Tikal site and go north to the Mayan site and village of Uaxactun. Driving through Tikal, on the same paths as the tourists are all walking along is cool and unsurprisingly everybody gives the landy maximum respect.

Landy emerges from Tikal National Park


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