April 14 to 19
We’ve been told it’s dangerous and we’ve been told there are some wonderful places to visit so we spend a few days in Guatemala, beginning at Antigua.
This old town has wonderful buildings, little laneways and masses of rubble, where churches once stood before the devastating earthquakes of the 1700s. Rebuilt after the first when a second major quake followed a couple of decades later many of the churches were left as they fell.
Today the ‘new’ Cathedral is in front of the ruin of what must have been a beautiful building with angels carved in the stonework looking down on congregations.
Our hotel is a piece of the town’s history, dating back to the early 1900s. Its central courtyard is a fine place to sit and read after a few hours wandering around the town.
From here we head to the edge of the Caribbean to Rio Dulce. We find a hotel right on the river. It wasn’t long ago the only way to this little marina and hotel was by boat, but, lucky for us, there is now a track through the jungle to a patch of land at the back of the inlet.
A 200 metre walk through the jungle on a suspended path ends at the pool. Our room was right on the water – if only we had more time to chill out here, but Tikal awaits.
The Mayan ruins in Tikal are in the middle of the jungle. Climbing to the top of the tallest temple we wait for the sun to rise. The mist hangs over the jungle and as dawn breaks we see other temples above the treetops.
The jungle comes alive with the sounds of the birds and monkeys – this is a wonderful experience. Well worth the 3.30 am wake- up call!
Daylight reveals temples dating back hundreds of years. What seem like hills are actually temples that haven’t been excavated – left to the jungle that has enveloped them over the centuries.
And the ruins are home to thousands of animals. We didn’t see the jaguar but we did spend time in one complex of temples were our only companion was a spider monkey.
Tikal ruins were a highlight of our time in south and central America. Now it’s time to dash through Belize to Mexico.