help with Tikal

 
Old Dec 18, 04, 9:22 pm
  #1  
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help with Tikal

Looking to head down sometime Jan or Feb , Ill be using miles I put into Distanca thats allows a stopover. So this way its a free (miles wise) trip to Tikal from GUA.
What Id like to know what is the best way to not only see Tikal but also transportation to/from Flores to Tikal, best place to stay and is a guide needed? Any help from those who were there is appreciated. 'll be going down on a Sun back that Thurs, so it'll be some time in Tikal and Antigua.
I did a search both here and at Latin America Destinations and nothing posted, so Im trying here
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Old Dec 18, 04, 9:55 pm
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how and when did you transfer your LP/GP miles into Distancia?
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Old Dec 18, 04, 10:23 pm
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at least 2 yrs ago, before they (LP) didnt allow it any more. I was gonna try to use as a way to get to Havanna, was hoping to be allowed to pick up the tkts at the Toronto office. But have since decided that my educational visit to Cuba will have to wait abit longer.
The problem is the miles are good for 3 yrs only and will expire unless one takes a paid flight on any Groupa Taca airline, no other way to keep the miles.
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Old Dec 19, 04, 10:34 am
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We went to Guatemala last year. I personally don't think you would need a guide to get around - some rudimentary Spanish and a decent guidebook should give you all that you want. There are 3 hotels in the Tikal area itself. All are pretty basic (i.e. little or no a/c), expensive for what they are and being in the middle of jungle are very buggy. A fun experience for one night and Tikal is really worth it, but do remember to take LOTS of insect repellent.

There are minibuses running to and from Flores throughout the day so there is no reason why you couldn't make it a day trip. Accomodation standards are a bit higher and much cheaper. It's a nice place to hang for a day, but no more.
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Old Dec 19, 04, 10:39 am
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When we went 2 years ago, I used a travel agent in Guatemala who did a fantastic job of making our arrangments. We were picked up by a van from the airport that took us to the Jungle Lodge in the park. A guide was provided and we took a 3 hour afternoon trek and a 3 hour early morning trek through the park. The guide we had was fantasic, very knowledgable. I would highly recommend using a guide. If I remember correctly, guides in Guatemala have to go to school for quite a while to be allowed to work as a guide. If you want, I can dig up the name of the agency we used.
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Old Dec 19, 04, 11:05 am
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I visited Tikal in September of this year. What a great place. I found it to be the most interesting of all the Maya sites (though admittedly I haven't seen those on the Yucatan).

I would recommend staying at the hotels in the park for two nights. The drive from Flores is pretty long and a day trip would be grueling, in my opinion. Also, in September all of the streets in Flores were dug up and as a result the city wasn't very appealing. I doubt everything is back to normal yet.

There are three hotels in the park. I stayed at the more expensive one (Jungle Lodge, I think). It wasn't very expensive in September (about $40) and it included meals and a guided tour of the ruins. During high season it will be more expensive, but I would say still worth it.

I would recommend getting up very early one day and entering the ruins when they open (6 AM, I think). No crowds and indescribably atmospheric and beautiful with the mist playing peek-a-boo with the ruins. Also lots of wildlife.

I would also highly recommend a guide. As stated, they are very well-trained. And currently because of the problems in Guatemala there is a glut of them so I imagine you can find one for a good price. I never would have seen all of the wildlife I saw without the guide. Plus, of course, they are very knowledgeable about the history and culture. Of course if you stay in the park hotels a guide should be included. I would also recommend some time for wandering alone in the park. It really is a special place.

FWIW, I've heard the Jaguar Lodge (the cheapest of the 3 park hotels) is not very good.

I highly recommend the place. It's really out of the way and I almost didn't go (I was driving and it's not on the way to anywhere!) but am so glad I did. Send me email if you'd like any more info. I have the name of my guide somewhere...
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Old Dec 19, 04, 6:25 pm
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Duplicate post

Last edited by vandykes44; Dec 19, 04 at 6:27 pm
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Old Dec 19, 04, 7:28 pm
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I haven't been there since the early 70's. But I think tasnam has been there recently and can give you more info on the infratructure. He just posted on the trip reports section about his Costa Rica trip. You can contact him via PM, or jump in his thread and ask.

Z
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Old Dec 20, 04, 8:10 am
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I went to Tikal about five or six years ago from Belize. As far as I could remember, Belize is much safer place than Guatemala. We took the local Belize tour. We were escorted by another armed vehicle as soon as we reach Guatemala border all the way to Tikal. We were told that there were occasional highway robbery targeting tourists.
I highly recommend visiting Tikal, but extremely cautious.
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Old Dec 20, 04, 6:11 pm
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flyinglan is correct--Guatemala does have some problems with robbers targeting tourists. My guide told me it had been a year since they had problems on the road between Flores and Tikal. Though he did say he didn't feel like it was 100% safe now. I personally wouldn't let this stop me from visiting.
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