DAY 3 - TEMPLES OF TIKAL - (B,L)
You will be picked up from the hotel this morning as you are off to Today you will explore the realms of the mysterious Maya. After an early breakfast, you will be picked up at the hotel for the
transfer by road over the border into Guatemala as you head for the Tikal National Park.
Whilst Europe was deep in the "Dark Ages", the inhospitable and hostile jungles of Central America were being transformed into the home of one of the World's great civilisations.
Hidden for 1,000 years in the midst of rainforests teeming with wildlife are enormous ceremonial cities with magnificent Temples, Pyramids and Palaces built by the mysterious Mayan people using peasant farmers and slaves,
without the benefit of beasts of burden or
even the wheel.
These were painted in the sacred colours of the Maya; red, blue, yellow and green and were ruled over by immensely powerful Kings who were regarded as living Gods by their subjects.
Of the park's 222 square miles only 10 square miles of central Tikal has been mapped and over 3,000 separate buildings have
been revealed: temples, shrines, ceremonial platforms, residences, ball courts, terraces, causeways and plazas.
THE TEMPLES OF TIKAL in the Peten region
of Guatemala is the most fabulous site of all!
Overnight stay at the Jungle Lodge Hotel or The Tikal Inn, situated in the heart of the Tikal National Park.
Imagine the ceremonies where human sacrifices were offered to the Gods.
Listen carefully and you will hear the still-beating heart of a dying Civilisation . . .
"America, say historians, was
peopled by savages; but savages never reared these structures; savages never carved these stones." John Lloyd Stephens, Explorer (1839)
DAY 4 - ISLA FLORES - (B,L)
When you are ready you will be driven to the island of Flores on Lake Peten Itza.
En route a visit will be made to the famous caves of Actún Kan or "la cueva de la serpiente" (the cave of the serpent) found just outside of Santa Elena, it has some lovely
natural rock formations which suggest animals, humans and various scenes.
The caves are kept lit constantly from 7 A.M. to 5 P.M. to facilitate movement within. Thus, the 50 curiously
formed stalagmites and stalactites are readily visible. They’ve been dubbed with picturesque names such as: "Elephant’s Foot", "Lady of the Grotto" and "Rain God" among others.
After lunch on the shores of the lagoon you will enjoy a relaxing sunset boat trip on the lake. "launcha" (wooden motorboat) to visit the zoo on the small island of Petencito. Besides the indigenous wildlife, some of which roam freely on the island, there is a good size "Wet & Wild" type water-slide, which makes for a great way to cool off in the heat of the day.
One of the stops is the Itza Mayan city of Tayasal which was not taken by the Spanish
until 1697. Cortez had passed through here in 1525. All traces of Tayasal were destroyed by the Spanish.
This is a great place to experience the colonial culture and gain an insight into Guatemalan village life. It is also fun to explore the cobbled streets lined with handicraft stores, shopping for Guatemalan goodies. The shops stay open into the evening and you can purchase wonderful
garments made of fabulous woven fabrics.
Overnight at the
La Casona de la Isla Hotel on the island of Flores. We have not included Dinner tonight so that you are free to eat at the island restaurant of your choice.