Tikal is by far the largest archeological Maya complex I have visited. It’s the largest in terms of area that must be covered to see huge excavated complexes that date back several hundred to a thousand years. I visited the park for three days and between the heat, mosquitoes, wasps and distances walking on paths through impenetrable jungle on all sides I could only march four hours a day and I still only saw a fraction of what exists buried under jungle, for 75% of the site has yet to be excavated. And also different from Teotihuacan near Mexico City, Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Dzibilchaltun, Kabah, Xcambo in theYucatan, and Copan in Honduras is the visibility of the buildings. At all the aforementioned sites one could see the excavated ruins in relation to each other. Granted, at each of those sites the excavated portions are also only a small percentage of existing structures buried under an accumulation of centuries-old natural growth unlike that in Northern Guatemala. In contrast, Tikal sits smack dab in the middle of a vast thick, tropical jungle with a seven-month rainy season. It rains every day. A lot. Park employees must clear nascent green vegetation every few days from the ancient stone palaces and ceremonial sites before the jungle can again reclaim them. When the Maya civilization declined about 900 C.E. and the building sites began to be discovered in the early1900s, in that period of time everything had reverted to virgin jungle. I visited Caracol yesterday here in Belize. I have so much more to write about the places I’ve seen this trip. The water shot above is from the city of Flores, Guatemala an island city in Lago Peten Itza, the last holdout of the Maya in the Peten against the rapacious Spaniards after more than a century of resistance. I will be returning to my home in Honduras on Monday July 16th after a month on the road.
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