Photos of Tikal: Dreaming in History

As I high step my way through the ankle deep grass growing on the main grounds of the Tikal ruins in eastern Guatemala my curiosity can’t help but wander like a child in a toy castle. I walk to the foot of a two thousand year old pyramid made of large limestone bricks and sit on the bottom step as my eyes gently pan the area in awe, curiosity and confusion.

Tikal

Tikal

 

What must have this place have looked like 2000 years ago with the 150,000 inhabitants that lived here?”

Tikal, Guatemala

Pyramid in Black and White

I climb the rudimentary wooden ladder leading to the top of the pyramid, careful of my every step. As I reach the top I walk to the center of the platform before looking out on my wide view of the landscape that lays before me. Great pyramids poke their silver heads through the monotonous green natural playground that has encapsulated it.

Tikal, Guatemala

The View from the top of the pyramid

“Did great kings once sit on thrones where I now stand looking out upon their subjects,” I think while shaking disbelief from my head and chills from my spin.

Tikal, Guatemala

The main plaza

The eerie cry of howler monkeys soon overtakes the air of calm which had gently hung up in the skies like clouds waiting for their turn to storm. The jungle now rules this city. Vines hang from trees and join to foliage pierced between stones of covered temples. Spider monkeys swing gracefully between the branches of trees in search of food. Mischievous coatis rummage through the site seeking unsuspecting tourists to steal a lunch from, while at the top of the canopy toucans, macaws and hummingbirds sing their early morning songs.

Spider Monkey

A spider monkey enjoying a snack

Tikal has a magic and mystique to it on level with some of the other great archaeological sites in the world. Places like Tikal remind us of a human history that never failed to carve out its history in the earth’s surface, proving how great mankind can be. The way the jungle has recaptured the city now reminds us that nature too is as powerful an entity as any.

Scroll down for more photos of Tikal, Guatemala.

Jungle Turkey

A bright jungle turkey

Tikal, Guatemala

The back view of a pyramid in the main plaza

Tikal, Guatemala

Find the baby monkey in the tree

Tikal, Guatemala

Pyramid poking through the forest

Tikal, Guatemala

Worm’s eye view of one of the pyramids

Tikal, Guatemala

A construction worker sits on top of the great pyramid

Tikal, Guatemala

The view from lunch on Pyramid 5

Tikal, Guatemala

Nothing like a beer and a view is there?

Orange Centipede

One of many orange centipedes in Tikal


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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15 Comments

    • Matt – Seriously right?

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  1. These are great pic’s, love “The back view of a pyramid in the main plaza” and of course “Gallo (Rooster) Cerveza” now on my list it.Tikal almost makes Chichen Itza look small due to the large area covered. Both have fascinating main pyramids. The Mayans left behind wonders and also a mystery of their final days as an empire.

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    • Kevin – For me Tikal is my favourite of all the ruins because of the scale and the setting. All the others are so manicured, this is right in the jungle.

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  2. @mathew I think the teeth are for opening the Gallo Cerveza. 🙂

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  3. Great pics Brendan. We were just there last month but it already feels like its been months! Thanks for taking me back… and of course you know I love the beer shot! 😉

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    • @Cam – That beer shot was just for you!

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  4. I was there in July ’11. It’s a great place and these photos sum in up well

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    • @Rohan – Great place isn’t it?

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  5. It looks like a remarkable place. This is a MUST do someday.

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  6. Stunning photos as ever Brendan. I’ve never been to Tikal, but I agree with Erik, it is one of those must do things. I’m with Cam too, love the beer shot! 🙂

    I enjoyed the post and the photos so much I featured it on our facebook page over here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/HeadingThere/78824702965

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    • Thanks so much Tom!

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    • @Brooks – Glad you have your priorities right hahaha 😀

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