Best tips for visiting Tikal in Guatemala

welcome to the best Tikal travel guide. Welcome to Tikal, the number 1 destination of Guatemala! If you love discovering an archaeological site then you are in the right place! Tikal used to be the center of the Mayan civilization. The old town is well preserved despite being in the middle of the jungle. The special thing about Tikal is that despite being a wonder of the world, it has retained its intimacy, because you will not encounter many other tourists during your visit. You often have a large building all for yourself, which is really special. Tikal is therefore the favorite Maya ruins of central America to visit. For Tikal you need a whole day where you can cover everything on foot. There are several options how and when you visit Tikal. In this Tikal travel guide we share our tips on how you to get an unforgettable experience.

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How do you get to Tikal?

This is very easy, you buy a bus ticket at one of the travel agencies in Flores. In 1 hour you arrive in Tikal.

Tikal travel guide: best way to see Tikal

Most people visit Tikal from Flores as a day trip. When you arrive in Flores you will discover that there are a number of options to visit Tikal. Before you decide how you are going to visit Tikal, you should be clear whether you want to visit Tikal with a guide or independently. Whether you want to visit Tikal with sunrise or sunset and how long you want to stay in the park. The choice is of course personal, but we are happy to share the three best options in our opinion.

Option 1: Enter the park at 6am

The advantage when you visit Tikal early in the morning that there is hardly anyone else. This gives you a lot of time alone in the park. Because of this you are sometimes alone near a large ruin, which is very special. In addition, the temperature is a lot more pleasant early in the morning. Please note that you will receive your ticket from the bank in Flores the day before, because the ticket office is not yet open before sunrise.

Option 2: overnight close to the park

If you want to travel less, you want to spend a lot of time in Tikal, spend time to take beautiful photos and you want to see the sunrise and sunset then you should stay overnight close to the park. If you “just” want to see the park like most people, it is best to stay overnight in Flores and visit Tikal as a day trip.

Tip: spend the night at Jaguar Inn, which is located in the middle of the jungle in the national park and is only a 10-minute walk from the entrance.

Option 3: visit the park like everyone else

This does not sound exciting, but it is the most chosen option. You “just” go to Tikal after breakfast and stay there until the sun goes down. The advantage is that you don’t have to get up extremely early, you don’t have to pack your luggage and you can still enjoy Flores in the evening.

Which option is best? Are you going to Tikal for sunrise or sunset?

The best choice does not exist, of course, because this is personal. Keep in mind when you want to go for option 1 you have to leave Flores at half past three in the night. If you want to see the sunrise and sunset, it is best to stay close to the park, so choose option 2. This is the most relaxing way to discover the park. We chose option 3 because we thought Flores was a nice place and it was fine to only see the sunset.

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Is it necessary to use a guide?

The same as the choice of time of your visit is also personal. Sometimes using a guide can enrich your visit or not. It is always difficult to determine this in advance. We personally always consider whether we want to know all the details and stories of the place we visit. If this is the case, we will use a guide. If we need to discover a place at our own pace, we choose to do it without a guide. When we arrived at Tikal we saw that the groups for “one” guide were very large, we never really need this so we decided to do it independently. when we saw the large colonel groups with a guide we were happy with our choices. We had the opportunity to discover places all alone with the 2nd. This completely fulfilled the expectations we had of Tikal!

Tip: you can download the Tikal audio guide in advance. This gives you the necessary text and explanation without a guide. If you want a guide but without many other peoples you should have a look at Viator. Here you can book a tour. We all recommend Viator because this organization is really good.

What to bring to Tikal?

Best tip that we have in this Tikal travel guide is to bring your own food and drinks, because the costs for this are considerably higher than in other places. Wear comfortable clothes and good walking shoes.

Tikal travel guide: other tips?

Take a picture of Tikal’s folder because they are not free. You can also download the folder in advance and save it on your mobile. It is important not to leave to late, because you don’t want to wait too long for a bus. At the end of the day it can be very busy and buses don’t leave very often.

Where to stay at Tikal?

If you want to travel less, you want to spend a lot of time in Tikal and see the sunrise and sunset then it is wise to stay close to the park. There are a few choices for sleeping close to the park. We have selected two accommodations that are still affordable. Other accommodations are quickly twice as expensive. Both are very good and highly recommended.

Jungle Lodge Tikal Hostal

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The rooms of Jungle Lodge Tikal Hostal are not huge, but big enough. The big advantage of this hostel is that they have a swimming pool so that you can leave your Tikal for lunch when it is really hot. The beds are very good and the hostel has a good restaurant.

Price per night from:
€ 41 double room

Hotel Jaguar Inn Tikal

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At Hotel Jaguar Inn Tikal you have the choices to stay in a bungalow or in the hotel. Both look very neat. If you love nature and you want to sleep in the middle of the jungle, you should go in front of the bungalow, because you are really surrounded by nature. Many guests really experience this as an unforgettable experience.

Price per night from:
€ 54 double room

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Hi, we are Cynthia and Alexander! High school sweethearts from the South of the Netherlands. We travel around the world because we are crazy about it! We believe travel can be life changing. Our goal is to share our travel tips and to inspire you to travel & discover the world!

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