We were in Belize earlier this month in San Pedro (which was wonderful by the way ). The one thing we did not get to do was to see Tikal. We are planning to return in October. We will fly in to Belize City on Saturday afternoon and have to leave on Monday afternoon. How is the best way to see the ruin? Should we rent a car and drive to Guatemala on Saturday to have more time at the ruin on Sunday? Or should we get a guided tour out of Belize City? We have such a short time for this trip and want to spend as much time at the ruin as possible. Thank you. Kathy
ahhhh but for the real atmosphere of the jungle you should stay at one of the Tikal hotels...there are 3, the Jungle Lodge, Tikal Inn or Jaguar Inn....I recently stayed at the Jaguar Inn, it was perfect. The other two are also nice, though, and have swimming pools. Tropic and Maya Island both have afternoon flights direct from Belize International to Flores. From there, grab a taxi/minibus (about $40US) all the way to Tikal itself.
The only slight problem I can see is that on a Saturday afternoon you won't be able to exchange US dollars to Guatemalan Quetzales. You can pay for everthing in US, though your exchange rate won't be so great.
Chris - Once you are at Jaguar Inn (or one of the other hotels) is it a simple thing if you want to hike and explore in the morning, and return to the hotel in the afternoon to laze around and swim? Would two nights be enough time to see, and do everything interesting? When you say the "real atmosphere of the jungle" what exactly do you mean? If I wake up at 3 in the morning will I be scared silly? Not that I am afraid of much, but it is always better knowing what to expect! Thanks
Two nights is probably enough, one is probably too short. The idea of walking around the ruins early in the morning or even late in the afternoon is appealing because if the sun is really shining it can be very hot work during the 11:00am-2:00pm hours. I was lucky last time I went...it was overcast and raining lightly....it felt great!
Make sure you're in shape....to see all of the various temples and plazas requires a lot of walking and climbing.
The Dawn Chorus between 4:30am and 6:30am is fantastic. The bird songs are incredible. If you do find yourself waking up during the night you won't have to worry about anything unless it's crawling on your skin. However, the hotels there all have good bug screens so it's not generally a problem.
The alternative is staying in Flores or Santa Elena at one of the many hotels there...but that's a poor substitute for overnighting in the jungle.
Years ago the food in the Tikal hotels and comedores was fairly appalling....now it's actually very, very good. Prices are still very reasonable.
PS. I always enjoy staying at the Peten Hotel in Flores. Gorgeous views of the lake, nice accomodations. A walkabout in Santa Elena is really a wonderful experience, if your not an easy mark. Its so...Central American!!