Again the best moments are often not planned.
We had arrived at Tikal National Park and we were staying at the Jungle Lodge. If you are wavering about which place is best to stay at in the park, it must be the Jungle Lodge for one reason only. Go directly to the pool in the afternoon and watch the trees above. They are full of monkeys jumping from tree to tree and you get the added bonus of lounging in a pool while you watch them. Sheer Heaven!!!! Trust me, you will never want to get out of the pool once the entertainment begins.
So we thought we would arrange a guide to take us into Tikal for the next morning but the woman I was looking for was nowhere to be found. We left a note for another guide who got back to us late that night so we went for it… knowing nothing about him. It turns out that he had had an accident at some point and wasn’t a strong walker… so walking into Tikal early in the morning to watch the sun rise and listen to the animals was kind of out the window. Instead… and yes this is a big instead… he had a pickup truck and we were directed to stand in the back of said pick up truck.
So holding our gear, we tried to hold on to the roof of the cab as we drove on a rocky path into the park. It was very dark outside and sort of eery. All of a sudden, as we entered the park, we heard a roar… not a little roar… but a ROOOOOOAAAAAAAARRRRRR! We jumped a foot and fortunately still landed in the back of our pick up truck.These were not lions… this is Guatemala after all…. but one step better in my world.. howler monkeys! We were beyond amazed at our luck of experiencing the sound of the howlers as we off roaded in the back of our pick up truck. And this was just the appetizer to an amazing day.
The entree (as far as I am concerned) is walking up the stairs to wait on the top of the ruins in the dark for the sun to rise. You know other people are up there but you can’t even see them. As the sun gradually rises, you hear the animals waking up and soon see the other ruins. It was misty for us but I think that just added to the appeal of the place personally.
And now it was 8am or so and our day had just begun!