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Exploring the Ancient Wonders: Tikal Tours From Antigua
Tikal, the ancient Mayan city located in the rainforests of Guatemala, is a must-visit destination for history and culture enthusiasts. The ruins of this once-great city provide a fascinating glimpse into the innovative prowess and power of the Mayan civilization.
From towering pyramids and palaces to the vast expanse of the Great Plaza, Tikal’s ruins showcase the architectural achievements of this ancient culture. With so much to explore and discover, Tikal is an excellent destination for those seeking adventure and knowledge alike. So, pack your bags, put on your hiking shoes, and get ready to delve into the rich history of Tikal.
Delve into the Rich History of Tikal
While the crumbling ruins of Tikal are a far cry from the massive cities we know today, this city was once the greatest of all Mayan cities. The structures that remain standing today are a testament to the power and size of this ancient city, once home to thousands of people.
Using evidence archaeologists have uncovered, historians estimate people resided in Tikal as far back as 1000 B.C. Several ceramics recovered from the ruins indicate time frames as early as 700 B.C. While pinpointing the origins of Tikal is tricky, many historians agree on this general timeframe.
Like many Mayan cities, Tikal had highs and lows. Originally named Yax Mutal in honor of the Mayan ruler Yax Ehb Xook, Tikal was home to impressive structures that belied the lack of heavy machinery. Multiple massive pyramid-style temples, several of which remain standing today, were erected during the fruitful years this city enjoyed.
At its peak, Tikal flourished, growing exponentially and even overtaking the nearby northern city of El Mirador. However, the highs eventually slipped away, giving way to Tikal’s collapse. Around 900 A.D., this great city began to implode, much like the rest of the Mayan empire.
Incessant warfare over many years began to take its toll on the city and its inhabitants, turning the tides and kickstarting the collapse. Historians believe a combination of factors, including severe droughts and epidemic diseases, further aggravated an already weakened city and its inhabitants, becoming a significant contributing factor to the decline.
Today, we know this period as the collapse of Classic Maya. On top of other contributing factors, historians believe crop failure due to overpopulation and deforestation caused people to flee the city in droves for more prosperous areas and survival. The remaining city was left standing, a shell of its former self and largely vacant save for a handful of migrant farmers.
For years, the city sat empty, the prominent structures casting looming shadows on empty streets. In the 1500s, the Spanish colonists arrived in the area, but Tikal sat unnoticed until the mid-19th century. Europeans exploring the area stumbled upon the ruins of Tikal, spurring interest in its mysteries with rumors of hidden treasure.
After its discovery, the Tikal ruins became a captivating topic for historians and archaeologists, drawing many to its soil to uncover its mysteries. Eventually, the ruins garnished the attention of worldwide tourists and earned a place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of Tikal National Park.
While the ruins of Tikal are a mere shell of the original booming city, they remain a fascinating place that entices countless visitors every year. Some of the original structures have long since collapsed on themselves, leaving them in shambles. However, several buildings still stand tall, showcasing the power and innovative prowess this city once possessed.
When visiting the modern-day ruins, you’ll wander the streets of the city, shaded by the flanking jungle that once concealed this city. Visit the Great Plaza, which was the main square of the city and served as a bustling hub in its heyday.
View the Central and North Acropolis, massive palaces that have withstood the whittling forces of time. Soak in the fascinating views of the “lost world” temple, known as Mundo Perdido, a massive Mayan pyramid standing guard over Tikal’s remnants.
As you meander the grounds of this great city, remember to abide by posted signage. Some structures are open to the public, allowing you to get close and absorb their imposing size, while others are closed and require you to keep your distance. Feel free to explore areas marked open for access, but remember to be respectful of the ruins and ensure you leave everything exactly as you found it.
Choosing the Right Tour
When planning your next Guatemalan adventure, selecting the perfect tour option is essential. The best tour option for your needs will vary based on your preferences, as everyone may have different opinions.
If you want a completely self-guided experience, you might choose to plan the entire trip yourself, from your flight into Guatemala to the delectable cuisine you savor along the way.
Or, you might want to plan most of the details but save the specifics of your excursions for professional tour guides. If that sounds like you, guided day or overnight tours might be the ideal fit, as they’ll give you the flexibility you want without the stress of planning your adventures.
However, planning these details can be overwhelming, especially if you’re hoping to relax and enjoy your vacation without the stress of the intricate details. In this case, a guided, fully-planned tour might be the best option.
With a fully guided tour, you won’t need to sweat the small stuff. Instead, you simply need to book your flights to and from the starting city. Once you arrive at the hotel, your adventure begins! Your tour will take you through the wonders of Guatemala, hitting the must-see points to maximize your vacation. The best part of it all? You’re along for the ride, so you can enjoy the perks of having your vacation planned for you! Talk about convenience!
Guided Tours to Tikal From Antigua
Dozens of tours are available for visitors wishing to explore the ruins of Tikal. Some are more immersive than others, taking you through the rich history of the area in a fully guided tour. Others are simple day trips, allowing you to soak up the sights for a few hours before returning to your starting point.
There are plenty of organized tours to Tikal from Antigua, Guatemala, and surrounding cities. You can even find Tikal overnight tours from Antigua. These are ideal if Tikal is the focus of your trip. If you prefer to explore the full range of Guatemala’s offerings alongside Tikal, a guided tour might be perfect.
Immerse Yourself in a Guatemalan Adventure
Guatemala has much to offer, from the captivating historic Mayan ruins of Tikal to the sweeping views of Lake Petén Itzá. Whether you’re a history buff yearning to immerse yourself in remarkably well-preserved history or an avid adventurer in search of your next trip, a Guatemalan tour to Tikal might be the perfect fit.
At Caravan, we offer two Guatemalan adventures to accommodate varying preferences. One visits Aititlán and Antigua, while the other explores Tikal and Rio Dulce. Take your pick based on the sites you want to explore, or take advantage of both!
With Caravan’s guided tours, you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation. We cover the fine details, from transportation and lodgings to food and activities, so you can make the most of your vacation without stressing about the details. Ready to book a trip? Call us at 1-800-CARAVAN or 1-312-321-9800 to get started!
Why Travel with Caravan?
Why Travel with Caravan?
Excellence Since 1952
You can trust our years of experience with tours of superb quality and excellent value. Caravan has enjoyed the same family management and ownership since 1952.
For your safety, Caravan cancelled most 2020 and all 2021 tour departures and refunded 100% of all payments received. See Caravan’s Covid-19 Terms of Travel.
Caravan's Proud History
In 1965, Roger Mudd hosted a two-hour CBS TV special on Caravan Tours. This TV production took about one month to make and was so successful it inspired the 1968 romantic comedy movie “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium.” In the early 50’s the Mayor of Dublin presented Caravan with the Key to Dublin for bringing the first American tour to the city after WWII. Since then, Caravan has been recognized as a pioneer in travel. You can trust in our stability, experience and dedication to quality.
Stay at park lodges, scenic resorts, and excellent hotels in great locations. See hotel descriptions on each tour page.
Most meals included within Latin America. For USA and Canada tours, included meals are listed on each itinerary page. Bottled water is provided on motorcoaches in Latin America.
Enjoy complete sightseeing with more visits, extra features, and local guides.
Fully Guided by Tour Directors
All tours conducted from start to finish by professional tour directors, who are fluent in English, experienced, and fun.
Caravan includes all activities listed in the tour itinerary page. Caravan does not sell any optional activities which can add hundreds of dollars to your tour price. Your free time is scheduled in great settings where there is no need to buy additional expensive activities.
Caravan will not bring you to overpriced shops in exchange for payments. Caravan gives you ample opportunity and time for great shopping, and the freedom to choose where and when to shop.
Great Value, Book Early
Caravan’s strong buying power gives you great vacations at prices much lower than you can find anywhere. In a typical year, most of our tours sell out quickly. Book early for the date you prefer and the best air fare.
How does Caravan Tours sell these tours for such a low cost?
Caravan delivers volume to our suppliers, who in turn reward us with their very best prices. We in turn pass these savings on to you, and you reward us by buying our tours. As volume continues to rise, we then receive even better prices from our suppliers, and we pass even greater savings on to you. This year our tours are better than ever.
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Caravan is a member of ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors), NTA (National Tour Association), ABA (American Bus Association), CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), and ACMA (American Catalog Association).