Guatemala Part 1 – Tikal (Mum HG, beware the spider pics!)

Yesterday we went to Tikal, which meant another hideously early start (4.30am alarm to catch a 5am minibus), but it was well worth it. On the road to Tikal, we saw ocellated turkeys (a cross between a peacock and a turkey) and pacas (very cute rainforest rodents – Duncan, you would like them!) at the side of the road. There was even a sign saying “Jaguar crossing”, but unfortunately we didn’t get to see any of those shy, nocturnal creatures. We got to the entrance just before it opened at 6am and then took a 4 hour guided tour around the site. Tikal is another Mayan ruin, similar to Palenque and Chichen Itza, but it’s my favourite of the three because it’s set in the Guatemalan rainforest, which meant, though humid, walking between temples was in the shade of amazing trees and bushes, we could climb on almost all of the ruins and there were lots of animals to see.

We saw green parrots and our guide passed a tarantula around the group, which Ise held for a few minutes, until it took a liking to him and started to crawl up his arm! It had been quite dozy up until that point, but there was obviously something about Ise that perked up the fuzzy spid…

We got to see 2 types of monkey at Tikal – the Spider monkeys (much cuter than tarantulas) and Howler monkeys, which although they also looked cuddly, made a terrible noise, like some kind of prehistoric monster was about to come crashing out of the jungle and eat us. Honestly, I am sure it’s where they got the idea for the invisible monster in “Lost” from!

Temple V gave us the best view over the jungle and the other (high) ruins, but we had to climb 105 ladder-like steps to get to the top. One poor French toddler had made it to the top on his own, but then couldn’t face going down – his Dad had to grab him and carry him down over his shoulder, which I think was worse, as the boy then had a view of the potential fall all the way down!

I’d have loved to have seen some Toucans as well (we heard some – they sound like frogs), but the closest we got to seeing one was back at the souvenir shop – shame…

Today we’re just chilling out, Ise is in a hammock on the roof of our hotel, reading his book and I am using the free wi-fi while checking out the view of the gorgeous lake here which surrounds Flores…

More pics here and more news soon,

Love Gude x

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7 Comments so far

  1. David on August 6th, 2009

    OMG… I am still in awe of that beautiful sunset picture of the lake… Paradise or what!!! Now, I am not a fan of the tarantula but the Temple V 105 step ladder scares me much more! I am completely with the young French kid who didn’t fancy the climb down. The same kind of stupid thing I would do too… Climb up there then remember my fear of heights. Wonderful views though. Have a nice n relaxing time after your early early starts!!! xxx  

  2. mum on August 7th, 2009

    Gude, I have a picture of you at about 8 with a tarantula on your arm like Ise(Weymouth butterfly farm). Was one tarantula enough for a lifetime or did you hava a go too? The lake picture is postcard perfect. Off to Broadstairs in the rain later with the brollie you bought me for Christmas. Have another good day. Baci xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. Gude on August 7th, 2009

    Yes, once was enough for me!  It’s one thing holding one when you’re in easy reach of a hospital in case of a bad reaction – quite another when you’re in the middle of the rainforest! x

    Enjoy Broadstairs x

  4. Stine on August 7th, 2009

    Hey Cecconi Hudson Gools!
    Awesome photographs, especially the sunset. You’re getting pretty bloody good at this Gudie – a new calling perhaps…?
    Missing you but blog and Skype are incredible inventions! Keep it up!
    Love you lots xx

  5. Nikki on August 7th, 2009

    Wow … you are going to some amazing places – love your blog and the links to Wikipedia.  I think you ought to contact Rough Guides and see if they’ll pay you for some of your reviews!  I would have been tempted to take the Toucan out of the shop – it’s so colourful – but I suppose you have to be careful not to get too many souvenirs as sending them home would be hideously expensive and taking them with you would overload the baggage.  Oh well … 

    Photos are amazing and I still can’t really believe you are doing this whistlestop tour of life, the universe and everything.  Still feels like you are just down the road and about to leap out and “a-ha” everyone!  You are much braver than me – I would have had the screaming ab-dabs around 3 countries ago, I think, although the tarantula actually seems much, much less scary than some of the individuals you’ve come across!

  6. Gude on August 10th, 2009

    oh dear, i will remember that when we go to see the big Jesus in Rio and warn Ise that he may end up bringing you back down, fireman style!  😉

  7. Gude on August 10th, 2009

    Yep, some of it is very pretty.  I’m still much more into creatures than views though, much to Ise’s distain!
    I liked the cuddly toucan too, but not enough to sacrifice my fleece/micro pillow for it (it would have taken up about a 5th of my bag)!

    I promise to “a-ha” you as soon as we get back babe…  😉  

    Luckily we haven’t met any really scary people – fingers crossed we don’t!  Though there was another enormous spider in the “dining” area (benches down by the water) last night – as big as my palm and enjoying it’s dinner of freshly caught cockroach very much indeed.