Latin AmericaVirtual Travel Tales

Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal archaeological site in Guatemala

Out of South America and into the jungles of Central America. We’ve been forewarned that northern Guatemala can be a little hairy, but I think I’ll take my chances in light of the politageddon unfolding even further north. This is one of the occasions limited internet access is a genuine cause for excitement.

The dry season seems to have kicked in, and today has been a gorgeous one to explore the rise (and fall) of the Mayans. It’s all a bit of a mystery why their empire collapsed, but the theory is that the all-too familiar culprits of war, famine, overpopulation and resource depletion are to blame. Something to ponder.

Tikal is truly amazing, a (complex) complex of more than 3000 buildings within the national park, which is in turn part of the two-million hectare Maya Biosphere that stretches into Mexico and Belize. Too many people in the recent past have fallen off the steep stone stairs of the pyramids and climbing is now banned, much to Leroy’s disappointment.

Tonight we’re heading back to Flores, a town picturesquely situated in the middle of a lake. We’ve been warned by our hosts that there are crocodiles in the nearby laguna (lagoon) and that any swimming is best done in the hotel pool. For dinner we might run the gauntlet of the street vendors selling various forms of grilled chicken and instead head to Fonda Ixobel for the famous Pasta ‘Survivor’ (depending on what that turns out to be) and licuados fresas, strawberry smoothies made with water and an optional dash of rum. It may be a rum sort of night.

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