So, again, Tikal impresses in both architecture and nature.
Walking through the site at four in the morning was an experience itself. The first major thing we came across was a whole horde of leaf cutter ants, marching along in their train. Pretty amazing to see them all working in sync. Not as entertaining as watching the crowd of them carry off a Dorito yesterday, but still pretty wild.
Our headlamps lit the way – remember, this is the middle of the jungle at 4 am, so we’re talking DARK out here – and all we could hear were birds and animals. Specifically, the “Poop to Show Dominance” Howler Monkeys.
These things were intimidating sounding buggers. In fact, if you heard one of these late at night in a major city, you’d probably think the world was coming to an end. Apparently, they’re not as scary to see in real life (minus the poop) but they make the most of their volume.
We go back up Temple IV and are greeted with clouds. Lots of clouds. However, if you were patient, you would see the tops of the other temples popping up over the canopy as the clouds drifted by. However, the view wasn’t the real star here.
About a half hour into sitting, we hear a took-took-took sound (which I’m probably calling wrong, bird callers forgive me). I ask our guide Cesar what it is and he says it’s a tree frog. However, if we hear one that sounds almost the same, it’s a toucan. Soon enough, a nearby tree started filling with toucans! There were about ten of the guys, flying around.
Right after that, bird after bird followed. Brown Jays! Spanish Roadrunners (I can’t remember the name)! Red Breasted Falcons! If you were a bird watcher, this place was heaven.
We finally started making our way down and saw a few new sides of the various temples. There was another Coati digging something up, I started taking shots before I realized “Hey, I’ve seen this show before”. We went into the Grand Plaza – again, empty – and then made our way back to the Jaguar for a pretty awesome breakfast and some relaxation before heading to Flores
I don’t think I can impress on you enough just how awesome Tikal is. I’m hoping the pictures here and in the album do it some kind of justice, but you really need to make this a stop if you ever are down in Central America. It would be criminal not to.
In less than an hour, we’re taking a shuttle back to Flores where relaxation (and maybe swimming?) will be the order of the day. Then, tomorrow morning, the last stop on our trip, San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in Belize!
Beach, here we come!!!