A Travellerspoint blog

Guatemala

Flores


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large_938978_13683588009808.jpgWe stayed in Flores for the rest of the day, had a very nice lunch at La Luna, and walked around town. Flores is an island in Lake Petén Itzá...wel not actually as it is connected to the main land with a bridge... and you can walk around i in like 15 minutes as well. At night we had a nice dinner in a restaurant ovelooking the lake. There was a reasonably strong wind thoug, which was weird because during the day there was nearly none.

What's also nice is that at night, suddenly bbqs appear in front of most restaurants. There was music everywhere, sometimes very loud....more souvenir stalls and shops. Nice to make another walk before going to sleep. Next day it would be going to Chetumal, back to Mexico, through Belize as that was the shortest wat to get there.

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Amazing Tikal...jungle time


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large_938978_13683547677883.jpgSo today we went to one of the most famous, and according to some most beautiful Maya cities, Tikal.

Tikal is still 'hidden' in the jungle. We had a walk with a guide through the jungle as well as seeing Tikal itself. We saw birds, ants, monkeys and even a tarantula. But the first thing you see when you enter is a very huge, very straight Ceiba tree.

Tikal is a big city, but as it is everwhere else most of it is still hidden. During our visit we saw a lot of hills, that hid temples underneath. This city has the higest temples known so far in Mayan history.

First we saw 'Complex Q'. It's a twin pyramid complex. Twin pyramid complexes had identical radial pyramids on the east and the west sides of a small plaza. This one is the east side pyramid, and the best renovated one.large_938978_13683547639695.jpgThe view! There are quite a few stelae in front of it, but all faded out.

We walked through the jungle to the famous Temple IV. This one is 70 metres high, the highest temple of Tikal, and also a fun fact, this one isn't fully excavated either. You can climb up by wooden stairs they placed next to it (lucky because using the original Mayan stairway would be too dangerous this high with this many people...) and looking down you still see the jungle covers most of it. The view from this one is amazing! You could see temples I and II in the distance, and a few others as well. You have a magnificent view over the jungle surrounding you.

After that we walked on, partly through small jungle paths, to the Lost world, El Mundo Perdido in spanish. This was a big ceremonial complex.large_938978_13683547717023.jpgTo the left, Temple of the Mask, to the right, Temple of the Great JaguarIt is build in a very interesting way. There is the big central temple/pyramid. Behind it the Maya build other temples as well, two big ones one each corner and one straigt behind.....to align them with the solstices and equinoxes. Everything that happened, the sun shore right behind one of the pyramids (depending on the time of year), and made a straight line with the central pyramid of the Lost World. So in that way we got an explantation how Mayan people used their knowledge of astronomy.

From there on we walked to the Plaza of the Seven Temples. This is one great plaza, flanked one the east side with seven nearly identical temples. And from there on to the Gran Plaza. Along the way we saw three spidermonkeys climbing the trees, so we stopped for a while to (try) making a few good pictures.large_938978_1368354768732.jpgComplex Q, east pyramid

At the gran plaza you can see Temples I and II, the temple of the Great Jaguar, and Temple of the Mask. On the sides of the temples are the palace (Central Acropolis) and a complex of temples, build on top and next to each other (North Acropolis). You couldn't climb the temples but you had a very nice view from atop both of the acropolis. You couldn't go to the very top, but high enough. They weren't that high but still for pictures, perfect. We also saw nosebears in the North Acropolis, and as long as you weren't coming to close they would stay where they were.

It was warm here as well, but not as hot as Copán was. After that it was time to go back to Flores. But they're right, Tikal is a very special and beautiful place to be!

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

By Boat to Livingston


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large_938978_13683106605184.jpgWe left at a reasonable time, 8.30 am. The trip by boat was a nice one. first we got a grand tour over the lake.

We saw different kinds of birds, herons, pelicans, even a vulture. We saw an old french fort, which now was government property and they turned the fort's grounds into a community park, also so they could keep the fort well preserved. the boat also took us along the houses on the shore, there were little shops as well. Some children tried to sell sea stars by coming to our boat in their canoes. We also saw the fishermen, a harbor with a lot of boats big and small. The tour took like 2 and a half hours before we actually arrived in Livingston.

Then we arrived at Livingston. The population originate for African slaves. And being so close to the caribbean it was supposed to have a different atmosphere compared to Mexico and Guatemala.large_938978_13683106607168.jpg Well except for the different origins of the people, the city isn't that different from anything else. Actually the town was like anything else. It had one street with shops we walked through, but it wasn't really that exciting to be there. The boat trip was more exciting then the town in my opnion. I did buy a hat there, but i mean people make a very big deal out of it, while it's not that very much. I mean if you want to go there, do so, but don't expect a completely different culture as they say there is...They have very nice drinks at the cafe overlooking the harbor.

After our visit we went back to Rio Dulce, which was another hour by boat. We had lunch, i had a tuna sandwich. Delicious tuna, really! And the fries were not too salty for a change :) After that it was on to Flores.

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Rio Dulce


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From Copan we went to Rio Dulce, back to Guatemala. It was still acouple of hours driving...so it was a long day. Nana Juana, where we stayed, was a welcome sight after spending that long on the road. First thing is did was jumping in the pool...first time swimming in like ten days of traveling, it was sooo nice.

We had dinner at the same hotel. It was nice, though not really cheap. But then again it was a hotel of course. That same hotel would also be the place where we would leave by boat for Livingston the next day. Not much to see besides the hotel either, it's kind of in the middle of nowhere so to speak, but it was just for a place to sleep, so it was fine.

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To the ruins of Copán!


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It was early...4 am. We left for Honduras, and because we had to go through Guatemala City, which is one big drama at rush hour, we had to leave very early. We had breakfast somewhere along the way, after we passed Guatemala City. After passing the border it was still about an hour drive. We arrived at the site around 9.00 am.

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Copán is very beautiful. It's not as big as other Maya cities, but an important one. There are a lot of hieroglyphics that tell much about the history of the city and who ruledand lived there. There was also supposed to be many written documents, but unfortunately the Spanish invaders burnt all of it. Besides that the Copán River that ran close to it (and has been moved to run around Copán now) destroyed quite a few places of the city by erosion.large_938978_1368303508390.jpg

What is different about this site is that it has stelae, we never saw it anywhere else. Each one was also decorated with hieroglyphs ont the side and it was decorated at the back.

Altar Q, as it is called, is a famous monument on the site. It depicts the 16 rulers of Copán, each one connected to the previous rule, the 16th one connected to the first. It is believed that the 13th ruler, 18 Rabbit, was the greatest ruler of Copán, based on the number of structures and monuments constructed during his reign.

Next there is the Ball Court. This is different from the other ones as wel. It doesn't have rings, but heads of macaws on the sides, three on each side, and is smaller then the others and has slopes near the walls, not straight walls. The most special about this site is the hieroglyphic stairway. It is a big stairway completely full with hieroglyphs and statues, that's why it is a very important part for archeologsts. In front of the stairway is the stela of the 15th ruler of Copán.

We also saw real macaws there. They also have a breeding program, to build up the macaw population again.

It was very hot though, like 37 degrees celsius at around 11 am. So if you go there, go as early as possible if you can. It's probably more enjoyable if you don't have the feeling you're melting on the spot ;)

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Posted by Astreia 17:00 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

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