From Flores we headed on a tourist shuttle to Tikal – everyone – well apart from us – was heading to Tikal on a pre-booked tour to visit the famous ruins of Tikal… It was interesting how little everyone on the tour knew about what they had booked though… we pulled up at a petrol station and the guide shouted that this was the last chance for anyone that needed to to use an ATM… The confused look on people’s faces was interesting – apparently no-one (okay, so maybe that’s a tad mean but it can’t have been more than one or two at tops) had bothered to read up and know that at Tikal they only accept cash payment for your entrance ticket! Two dudes on the shuttle had even failed to realise that they had to pay the entrance fee – they thought the small sum they had paid to get to Tikal covered the transport and entrance… ummm… FAIL! They aborted the trip at the petrol station and started the long walk back to Flores…
We on the other hand were relieved not to be joining the group on the tour… and excited by the fact that we were going to be spending the night in Tikal – just outside the gates of the National Park – so we could get up early the next day and be included in the handful of people wandering among the ruins BEFORE the onslaught of tour buses arriving!!! 🙂
On arrival we checked out our accommodation – it was pretty nice 🙂
While we were checking out our room we spotted spider monkeys and coatis hanging out in the garden 🙂
There was a trail near where we were staying so we decided to go for a walk – the trail went through pretty dense jungle with the noise of birds and wildlife around us – spotting stuff was a different matter, but I don’t think we did too badly! We ended up at a water hole before turning back – near the waterhole was a sign warning of crocs… We decided not to get too close!!!
Two of my favourite new birds on the trail were the montezuma oropendola – a beautiful bird with an amazing call, and the ocellated turkey – the coolest looking turkey I have ever seen (and probably will ever see) in my life!
Back near our accommodation the wildlife was still active…
We also had to venture on a short walk down the road – I love road signs and the sad fact is that I wanted to take a picture of the coati road sign!
With few places to eat and drink near our accommodation – and in spite of a long walk down the road looking for somewhere – we ended up eating in the ‘lodge’ where we were staying! What can I say but we were hungry and had to eat something! We ordered the pollo en petenera salsa – chicken in petenera sauce… what is petenera sauce, I hear you ask? Good question! I’m still not sure to be honest! They told us it was a spicy sauce… but it really wasn’t!
Most of our second day in Tikal was spent at the ruins, but on exiting the ruins we still had time for a bit more wandering before it got dark! We bought water from one of the stalls and the dude running the stall was very chatty – he asked us if we’d seen the croc about 100m away – we said we hadn’t so he took us to check it out… it was insane… I would never have imagined a croc waiting so still in such a small space for a thirsty bird or animal to come its way. It was crazy – we had to go back the next morning to take a picture as it was dark! We didn’t mind having a celebratory beer in the dark though! Always good to have a nice cold(ish) beer to mark the end of a nice stay somewhere 🙂