Help keep our prices low: Share with Friends
Visiting the Tikal Mayan Ruins
Tikal is an ancient Mayan city, initially settled in 700 B.C. and concealed by its remote jungle surroundings until its discovery in 1848. Today, these ruins remain a testament to the grand city of Tikal, providing an unforgettable experience as you stroll through the area that once boomed with activity.
Our Guatemala, Tikal, and Rio Dulce Tour takes travelers to the heart of Tikal’s rich history, allowing them to immerse themselves in the history of these Mayan ruins.
History of Tikal
The city of Tikal housed the Mayan people for hundreds of years. Using evidence uncovered by archaeologists, historians estimate people resided in the city as far back as 1000 B.C. Various ceramics date back to 700 B.C., and while pinpointing exact timeframes isn’t easy, many historians agree on this general origin.
Several hundred years later, the Mayan people concluded the major construction of Yax Mutal, a city that included multiple massive pyramid-style temples. In the following years, the city blossomed, growing exponentially and eventually overtaking the nearby city to the north, El Mirador.
The city, like many, experienced ups and downs until around 900 A.D., when it began to collapse, much like the rest of the Mayan empire. Years upon years of incessant warfare began to wreak havoc on the city. Historians believe severe droughts and epidemic diseases broke out around the same time, further stressing the city and its inhabitants.
Today, this period of sharp decline is known as the collapse of Classic Maya. Historians believe crop failure resulting from overpopulation and deforestation drove people out of the city, leaving the remnants largely vacant, save for a few migrant farmers.
The city sat empty, although the areas around Tikal contained a small population for years, long before the Spanish colonists’ arrival in the 1500s. Fast forward to around the mid-19th century, and Europeans exploring the area “discovered” the ruins of Tikal, kickstarting interest with talks of its treasures.
In the years that followed, these ruins became an intriguing mystery for historians and archaeologists, eventually drawing the attention of worldwide tourists and earning a place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of Tikal National Park.
Sightseeing in the Mayan Ruins
Today, the Tikal Mayan ruins still boast remnants of the original city, remarkably preserved for their age. As you stroll through the city, shaded by the surrounding jungle, there is plenty to see. Visit Tikal’s great plaza, the main square of the city.
View the Central and North Acropolis, the former of which is believed to have been the primary palace for the city’s rulers. Take in the Mundo Perdido, or the “lost world” temple, a massive Mayan pyramid towering over the city’s remains.
Wander over to the Temple of Ah Cacao, the temple of the Great Jaguar, a Mayan pyramid that housed the dead and served as a burial site. This pyramid extends over 150 feet into the sky, shadowing the city below.
Check out the remaining evidence of the city’s sacbeobs or paved causeways. Walk along the series of intricate canals crafted to catch rain as it fell from the sky to fill the city’s reservoirs. Visit the crumbling remnants of ballcourts that facilitate lively games of the Mesoamerican ballgame.
As you explore the Mayan ruins of Tikal, Guatemala, remember to abide by posted signage. There are certain structures you can climb, while others require visitors to keep their distance. Soak up the rich history while being respectful of the ruins, ensuring you leave it exactly as you found it.
Book Your Guatemalan Adventure With Caravan Today!
If you’re ready to explore Tikal in a guided Guatemalan adventure, our guided tour might be the perfect fit. At Caravan, we handle the details, from meals to lodgings, so you can focus on enjoying your trip. Our Guatemala, Tikal, and Rio Dulce tour takes you to key points in Guatemala to showcase the wonders of this country.
Ready to explore Guatemala and Tikal? Call us at 1-800-CARAVAN or 1-800-312-321-9800 to book a trip today!
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.
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.
Trade Association Memberships
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).