9 Days in Belize and Tikal, Guatemala

A Travelogue by John Niebler

Pictures by John Niebler and John Zastrow

Getting to Belize Diving Trip Explore Caye Caulker Tikal - day 1 Tikal - day 2 Down to Punta Gorda - Kayak Trip Explore the cave Snorkeling and Fishing Going home
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Dive Trip
Caye Caulker
Tikal - Day 1
Tikal - Day 2
PG and Kayak
Cave Trip
Snorkeling and Fishing
Going Home

Wed April 2nd

5:15am

Zastrow- “<yawn>I had the best nights sleep.”
Me – “Didn’t you hear the screams?”
Z. – “Nope.”
Me – “What about the animals dropping stuff on the roof?”
Z. – “Nope.”
Me – “You must have heard the howler monkeys. They were deafening.”
Z. – “Nope. Slept like a baby.”

I almost hit him.

Sounds of the the howler monkeys again in case you missed it.

We met Luis and ate breakfast at the only place that was open at 6am. We were getting an early start so we could head to the airport early, in case of trouble. We all had omelets and coffee. It was good.
Instead of exploring tall temples, a lot of what we saw this day was smaller and more detailed. More carvings and less climbing. We first walked to the Temple of the Inscriptions. So called because the whole thing if covered in glyphs. They were small and were hard to make out from the ground, but it was very cool. A Wrigley (as in the chewing gum) man found it. The Wrigley company had guys out in the rain forest looking for gum trees in the 1800s. One of them found this temple while he was looking for trees. We also climbed up an unexcavated temple. Unfortunately we were moving too fast at the top. Luis crested the hill and scared an ocelot (a cat, but smaller than a jaguar) away before we could see it. The temple was amazing though. Still deep in the forest, they had dug just enough so that you could see how buried it was. Imagine all of the temples that were clean in our pictures with trees growing all the way up including the top. After this we went back to the Central Plaza and walked through some of the buildings. We looked at the steles close up. We saw a group of spider monkeys up close. There were a few young ones clinging to the backs of their mothers. They didn’t like how close we were so they started throwing stuff at us.
The trip to the airport was uneventful. The front gate, where the day before there were about 15 guys with rifles, now had 2 guys with rifles. Apparently the soldiers decided that if they weren’t getting paid they were going to leave. We had to wait about three hours for our flight back to Belize City.

We got into BZE around 5:30pm. Aprill had made reservations for us at the Embassy Suites across from the airport. Well, it was the Embassy hotel. Definitely not part of a chain. The old guy that owned the place, a graduate of Bob Jones University, had a thick southern accent. I imagine he had been down there for at least 30 years doing missionary work and was actively missioning while we were there. He gave us some of the boiled chicken dinner they were eating at $10 US a plate. Nothing was cheap on this trip. Was pretty good, but both of us got sick for three days. Not badly, but we were sick.

Page 2 of Day 5 (More pictures.)

The Mayan Ruins
Temple I from the top of Temple II
North Acropolis from Temple II
From top of Temple IV
Temple I and ball court
Stilea with altars behind
Stilea of a Mayan Warrior. He has a headress and is holding a staff.
Stone altar

Living quarters

Sweat house (I think.)
Administrative buildings. The archealogist Maudslay lived in a small room in the left doorway for three years while excavating Temple I.

Temple I in about 1848. Notice that the jungle grew right to the tops of the temples. 145 feet high. Built in about 700 A.D.

Buried temple. We climbed this one.
All that sticks out of the top. All the temples were this way before being excavated.
Unexcavated mounds. Probably small temples. These are about 40 feet high.
Page 2 of Day 5 (More pictures.)