You start your day early and arrive at Tikal while morning’s cool touch still covers the jungle. As you follow your guide down the dirt trails, birds greet you with their chirps and whistles. You pass the great ceiba tree, the national tree of Guatemala. If you look down, perhaps you’ll see butterflies gathered around a puddle or ants intent on a destination.
Once you reach the Grand Plaza with the two temples facing each other, you take a break as you also take in the history and scenery around you.
Then you’re off to reach Temple IV further on in the jungle. Not fully excavated, Temple IV can be climbed by wooden ladder-steps. Somehow these look safer than the steep, uneven stone steps you saw at the Grand Plaza.
Up you go, step by step. When you finally reach the very top, you sit down and look. You are above the canopy of the jungle, so nothing impedes your view. What was that deep roar? A howler monkey? You read that they can be heard 5 miles away…
As you sit there, you welcome a sense of wonder. Wonder over the beauty before your eyes. Wonder over the diversity of the animals and plants you’ve seen. Wonder over the intelligence and skill of a people who built and understood so much centuries ago. As you make your way down the wooden steps and drive to a hotel for dinner, you certainly have plenty to think about.
I have been to Tikal 22 times and there was always something to wonder over. This part of Guatemala reflects the rest of the country in that it is a place of wonder. You could say it’s wonder-full.