Thursday 12 February 2015

Guatemala: Tikal & Belize: San Ignacio

Day 15

Today started at 5am when we departed Flores and headed to the famous Tikal ruins. As was becoming familiar, post Palenque and Chitchen Itza, this was an ancient Mayan city in ruins found in a rainforest! The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and “is one of the most important archaeological complexes left by the Maya civilization”.

We started our early morning tour with a walk through the rainforest...

...we spotted some of the local wildlife (including spider monkeys and coatimundis), though most were probably hiding due to the rain…my vision of a sunny sweaty Central American holiday had disappeared about 10 days earlier!

But it wasn’t all bad – I found a coffee shop and we also polished off our much-loved banana bread…#sadface

Tikal is a large site, though most hasn’t been excavated or restored. Tikal had been one of the most powerful kingdoms of its time, until it’s abandonment in the 10th century.

The main buildings are six large pyramids (Temples I – VI).

We climbed up Temple IV, the highest structure in the complex at over 60m high, to admire the apparently spectacular views of the surrounding jungle canopy…

…almost as good as the volcano views in Antigua!

Chang's selfies are far more sophisticated than mine...and my bites!

Then it was time to leave.  After a scenic lunch stop...

...we crossed the border into Belize.

Instantly there was a different atmosphere – the border control people were English-speaking and oozed a chilled Caribbean vibe.

We had a short drive to our first stop in Belize – San Ignacio.

San Ignacio is one of the most popular tourist spots in Belize.

We wandered through the relaxed town, stopping at a fruit and supermarket for more supplies…just a few bits to tied us over! Including piƱa colada…well we figured we were close to the Caribbean, so rum seemed appropriate.

Our hotel had a great sign up to great us – Happy Hour!

We were intrigued by the ‘panty ripper’ cocktail…so of course ordered this!

It’s a local specialty of rum, pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine, topped off with a cherry – delicious!

By now there was torrential rain pouring down outside so we decided to stay at the hotel for dinner after discussing the options to do the next day in the area.

I ordered conch fritters – another local specialty – essentially a fish cake from a shellfish.

Along with red snapper – all delicious.

Then we retired back to our room – check out the size of this…we even had a dance floor and ‘lazy boy’!

We played games, worked out and then ate almond snickers and chilled out listening to the rain.

Central America

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