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Over New Year’s in 2007, we visited Belize and Guatemala. Belize is just three hours south of the United States by plane. The flight from Belize to Tikal took around an hour. Our focus was the Mayan archeological ruins of Tikal in northern Guatemala. The unique thing about Tikal is that it is surrounded by dense jungle inhabited by a variety of wildlife including monkeys and toucans. The first video above is a trip overview showing just the highlights of Tikal.
We also spent a night in Belize City upon arrival and three nights in Placencia, in southern Belize, at the end of the week. In Placencia we relaxed in a bungalow on the beach and spent a day learning to scuba dive in Laughingbird Caye National Park.
Belize and Guatemala Itinerary
|1||30 December 2006||Fly from Los Angeles to Dallas, change planes and continue to Belize City, Belize|
|2||31 December 2006||Fly from Belize City to Flores, Guatemala; Drive about one hour to Tikal site; view ruins|
|3||1 January 2007||Guided trip through Tikal ruins|
|4||2 January 2007||Additional day to view Tikal sights|
|5||3 January 2007||Drive to Flores; Fly to Belize City; Change planes and fly to Placencia, Belize, arriving in the mid afternoon|
|6||4 January 2007||Relax along the beach in Placencia|
|7||5 January 2007||Scuba Diving class in Laughingbird Caye National Park|
|8||6 January 2007||Fly from Placencia to Belize City in a small plane; Transfer to a flight to Miami, then onto Los Angeles|
The other three video episodes include much more content of the trip, including getting there, as well as the site at Tikal.
Episode 1 covers the trip getting there. If you haven’t ridden in a small plane before, you can get an idea of what it’s like by watching this video. You will actually see one of the archaeological sites (Yaxha) from the air near the end of the video.
Episode 2 covers the site called Yaxha. It is near Tikal and wonderfully preserved. The roads near the airport start off pretty good, but get worse as you enter the countryside. Along the way, you will pass through villages, getting a glimpse of their daily life. We had lunch at a nearby ecolodge.
Episode 3 covers Tikal itself. We stayed at an ecolodge inside of the park. This enabled us to walk through the ruins at anytime. Towards the end of our stay, we reentered the ruins in the late afternoon and watched the sunset from the summit of one of the ceremonial temples. Fabulous sight. While at the top, we were also treated to conversations with people from around the world.
At the end of the video you will see some excellent shots of a toucan. I used a 10X lens and a 2x multiplier to get this shot. It was fun to hear the toucan call to other toucans nearby before he flew away. We were completely by ourselves on the walk back to our lodge where we celebrated the day with a cold beer.
I found these other sites to be helpful.
- Nice photos – http://fourlittlefeet.wordpress.com/2008/08/10/tikal/
- History of area – http://traveltomove.com/2008/07/26/history-of-tikal-tikal-guatemala/
- More photos – very detailed – http://lifeisbutadream.wordpress.com/2008/06/19/honeymoon-review-tikal/
- Nice adventure writing and some videos – http://xiebob.wordpress.com/2008/06/14/yucatan-2008-day-10-tikal-guatemala-2008-03-25-tuesday/
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