Deep in the heart of the jungle in Guatemala lies a village built for resilience. Constructed more than 2,000 years ago, the ancient Maya city of Tikal was one of the major sites of the Mayan civilization. Today, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites in Central America and, much like it did two millenniums ago, continues to draw visitors in droves every year.
Complete with ceremonial platforms, palaces, homes, roads, plazas, and temples, Tikal was made to stand the test of time.
Sci-fi movie fans may recognize these temples from Star Wars IV: A New Hope. According to an article published by Reuters, George Lucas chose to feature Tikal after seeing a tourism poster of the site, and sent a crew to Guatemala in March 1977 to shoot during the country’s 36-year civil war.
How to book a tour: Many hotels will offer to book Tikal tours, but to avoid missing the experience due to a lack of space, reservations are recommended.
Cost: According to Tikal National Park‘s website, the average cost of a guided tour is about $100 GTQ ($20 CDN), plus about $150 GTQ ($25 CDN) to enter the park.
What to bring: Hiking shoes, camera, water, bug spray and sunscreen.