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Tikal Ruins

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Located in El Peten, Tikal is the crown jewel of Mayan ruins in Guatemala. Though it has many of the same beautiful temples as its well-known counterparts in Mexico, Tikal stands apart because of its location deep in the jungle. Trekking like Indiana Jones is not necessary, but the jungle setting is evident as you walk under a thick canopy to explore the plazas, pyramids, and temples of Tikal. Settled around 700 BC, Tikal flourished during the Classic Period, between 200 and 900 AD. As the capital of a conquest state, it served as a center for trade and economy, growing to a population of almost 100,000 before its decline. Some of its more noteworthy characters include Jasaw Chan K'awiil I, also known as Au Cacao (Lord Chocolate!), who conquered the chief rival Mayan state of Calakmul around 695 AD.

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