While on a girls’ trip to Belize, three friends and I made a day-long private excursion into Guatemala to visit the Mayan ruins in Tikal. We left early in the morning, as the van drive to the ruins was roughly two and a half hours from our resort, and we had to go through passport control in both countries. Our guide deftly helped us through both border towns–Benque Viejo and Melchor de Mencos, and I ended up with four stamps in my passport by the end of the day.
After an informative drive (and stop by a lakeside, where we were told local Guatemalans did their laundry), we ended up in Tikal National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We learned about Mayan history, economy, and fascinating traditions from our guide while we walked among the dense forest and ruins. We climbed up Pyramid IV (which had an excellent view made famous by Star Wars) and relished the incredible feeling of absorbing an ancient culture.
Our early afternoon jaunt continued throughout the remainder of the site, yet it was cut short very close to the conclusion of our tour by a fast-approaching rain from the skies. We rushed through the downpour to a nearby restaurant and noshed on a simple meal of red beans and rice, as well as Gallo, the local beer. While the rain was heavy, it did not dampen our spirits, and the four of us giggled most of the ride back to Belize about loving piña coladas and getting caught in the rain…in Tikal.