(We are constantly trying to think of ways to tell our story without just giving our readers an elongated blow by blow of our trip in every single post. This post is going to summarize the last few days with photos and extended cutlines – enjoy!)
The border crossing from Belize to Guatemala took about two hours because we sought shelter in the Aduana office from a rainstorm but it should have taken only 45 minutes. We immediately left for Tikal National Park from the border and arrived to our hotel at 5:30pm. Should you ever go to Tikal we recommend the 4am hike to Temple 4. As the darkness starts to lift your view from the top of the pyramid goes from pitch black to grey (seen here) and just the tops of the trees are visible as the howler monkeys and birds start their morning. Sitting on the top of a 1,271 year old pyramid hearing the forest come alive is one of my favorite travel experiences to date – made more poignant by my realization that the sounds we were enjoying have existed far longer than the pyramid. This photo represents my favorite spanish word – ‘Madrugada’ The sliver of time between night and day. Photo: Alex Washburn
A tourist channeling Indiana Jones looks out across Tikal National Park from the top of Temple 4 just after sunrise. The moments where the tourists could collectively refrain from fidgeting were remarkable. Photo: Alex Washburn
Our tour guide (he wasn’t very good) leads the group towards Temple 1 in Tikal National Park. This temple was actually in one of the star wars movies and is quite famous. A benefit to going to the site so early is that there are very few other tour groups and the day hasn’t gotten unbearably hot yet. Photo: Alex Washburn
Our tour guide kept apologizing for the fog but I liked the way it looked. There is something very pleasing about walking around in it. Photo: Alex Washburn
Seeing this family of Coatis was one of the best parts about staying in Tikal. This relative of the raccoon spends its day rooting around the forest floor like little pigs. I walked up to within about 15 feet of them and the older ones were totally unafraid. On their search for food they noodled within two or three feet of me. Photo: Alex Washburn
After Tikal’s dawn hike we took a quick nap and hit the road for Flores. I don’t really enjoy posing in front of monuments and things but I am a sucker for a really awesome wall. I had Nathaniel take this our first day in Flores. Photo: Nathaniel Chaney
Flores Guatemala is a tiny island in the middle of Lake Peten Itza. The residents have a habit of jumping in the water at random moments – swimming for just a few minutes and then going back to whatever they were doing. This gentleman went for a really long swim and is resting for a moment while his girlfriend waits on the shore. Photo: Alex Washburn
Flores is an island but it’s also basically one big hill full of one way cobblestone streets. The only place in town good for skateboarding is in the plaza at the very middle and top of the small community. The plaza has a church, basketball court and plenty of open concrete where the skateboarders have a rail to grind on. Xavier, 15, and Julio Ramirez, 17, (left to right) were some of the local kids we found hanging out there. Photo: Alex Washburn
This is one of my favorite photos from Flores. Like so many men in town this kid showed up to the water, stripped into his underwear, dove and swam for about 15 minutes with a friend and then they hopped back on their scooter and left as quickly as they came. Photo: Alex Washburn
As I type this post and am about to publish it we are in the city of Coban Guatemala. Our ride here yesterday was miserable because it rained on us more or less all day. By the time we checked into our hotel we were both soaked and my hands looked like raisins. We hope to arrive to Antigua after 4-5 more hours or riding and we are both really excited for it. I went to Antigua several years ago with a friend and it is absolutely gorgeous.
Thanks for looking.