Ancient cities are scattered all across Latin America, but not all of them get as much attention as Peru’s Machu Picchu or Mexico’s Chichen Itza. That’s the case with Tikal, the most notable ancient city of Mayan origin that you can find in Guatemala.
Located in the very heart of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Tikal is surrounded by a tropical rainforest on all sides. This nature reserve is home to many ancient Mayan cities, some still waiting to be explored, but Tikal is the most important one excavated so far.
Historians believe that Tikal has been around since the 4th century BCE and that it served as the major Mayan metropolis before being completely forgotten. Its decline started in the 9th century, before archaeologists started discovering it little by little, and uncovered around 3,000 structures that once formed this ancient city.
Best known for its pyramid-like limestone temples, Tikal is now one of Guatemala’s top tourist attractions and it was even declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The doors of Tikal National Park are open every day between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., and the best way to visit it is by joining one of the guided tours from Flores, located about 65 kilometers away.