Today we were both fully recovered (although I now have a cold coming...damn it!) so we headed up to Tikal, which we have both really been looking forward to and it didn´t disappoint.
We had to get up at the fabulously antisocial time of 4am to get our bus, because the best time to go is early in the morning to see all the animals and not have as many people there...not many people are stupid enough to get up at that time to climb some ruins!
We arrived looking rather bleary eyed at 6am but our VERY enthusiastic guide Luis soon breathed some life into us...he was a bit of a whirlwind at that time in the morning but really great fun. He had lived there all his life and had been doing guides for 16 years (since 12 yrs old!) so he really knew his stuff. We set off at a very ambitious pace with Luis explaining every little detail as we went. We were definitely right to get up early as one of the 1st things we saw was a crocodile having a turtle for his breakfast...yum yum! We also saw a couple of Toucans, some spider monkeys, howler monkeys and a very shy tarantula that wouldn't come out his hole (though that changed later as you can see from the photos!).
It wasn´t long before we were climbing our 1st temple. Now, Ian and his gigantor legs hop skipped and jumped up the steps, but the steps were so huge they nearly came up to my knees on my poor little excuses for legs so it was a somewhat harder experience...and this was a small one! Luis then explained about the human sacrifices that they used to carry out (chopping of heads and taking out hearts...just what you want to hear as you try to digest breakfast). Apparently Mayans still come to Tikal to carry out religious rituals, but thankfully they have moved on since 700AD and only sacrifice small animals.
Luis took us to all the big temples...unfortunately you can´t climb the tallest one but the next tallest was quite big enough for me thank you very much...by the 3rd temple my legs had turned to jelly which wasn't helped by Ian's taunts of "I'm fine...not tired at all...what's wrong with you!!"...thanks. I did chicken out going up one of the tallest as you had to climb an almost vertical and very rickety wooden staircase. So I watched Ian heave his way up it (I'm sure he was tired by this point...)
We had a wonderful day, it was incredibly interesting and it was worth every penny.
Tomorrow we are off to Belize!!!