So, I may have fallen a bit behind on getting some photos posted, but I am hoping to make up for lost time. Back in October, we went for a long weekend to Play del Carmen in the Yucatan. On one of the days we visited the Mayan ruins at Tulum. It was a hot and sweaty affair, hopping from shady area to shady area, but totally worth it.
One of the items on our Guatemala bucket list was to make it to the Mayan ruins at Tikal. With my in-laws in town visiting, DiploMom was kind enough to send me off for a long day trip to see the ruins. One can drive an insane 10 hours to get to Tikal, or book a tour and take a 45 minute flight and have a turismo van and guide waiting for you and other passengers for the remaining hour drive to reach the ruins.
It makes for an early wake up call to catch the flight that leaves at 6:30 am and then a full day with a return flight around 8:00 pm, but all the effort is most definitely worth it.
Here is the Great Plaza, with views of Temple 1 and Temple 2
Views from the top of Temple 4
Plaza of the Seven Temples
Mundo Perdido Complex
With some good friends in town this past weekend for a quick visit, we headed 1.5 hours west from Guatemala City to visit Iximché, the Mayan ruins near Tecpán. These ruins are not nearly as impressive or preserved as sites like Tikal or Copán are, but they are much closer and easier to get to. They are located in the highlands at around 7,000 feet, which makes for very pleasant temperatures and a beautiful setting.
At the very back of the site is an area where Mayan rituals take place.
We took advantage of the past Memorial Day weekend to head over the border to Honduras to visit the Mayan ruins at Copán. With having Monday off, we decided to leave on Saturday morning, which worked out much better than rushing out on Friday afternoon trying to beat traffic, especially since the drive is about 4.5 to 5 hours without major traffic delays.
This is the longest drive we had tackled so far and we were excited to able to travel with some wonderful friends and their adorable one-year-old. It was a good feeling to know others were along in case either of us had any car problems. The ruins and town are just over the border, so once we crossed, we were there in no time.
Crossing the border was a relatively quick and painless process. There wasn’t a whole lot of guidance on what we were supposed to do, so we actually stopped at the Honduran building first to show our passports, only to be sent back to the Guatemalan building since we had no exit stamp. We got that squared away, got our Honduran entry stamp and then we were on our way. I think having the diplomatic plates also helps speed things along. No one actually checked our passports at the gate to enter Honduras, they just waved us on through.
We found a great little 2 bedroom, one bath place to stay, that thankfully had air conditioning in the town of Copán Ruinas. It is a quiet little town that essentially exists because of the tourism to visit the ruins. Here is the Parque Central.
The settlement at Copán marked the southern fringes of the Mayan world. Construction of the city is believed to have started around 100 AD. The ruins here aren’t as vast as those at Tikal, but they are still a relatively large settlement with a good amount to see.
We were greeted at the entrance by a wonderful assortment of squawking and flapping Macaws that live in the area.
Copán is well known for the stelae carvings and there were several of these displayed as we entered the Great Plaza, a large grassy expanse that was a public gathering place.
This temple features the famed Hieroglyphic Stairway, which is constructed of 72 stone steps, with every block carved to represent a part of the sequence, totaling around 2,200 glyph blocks.
It was pretty warm during our visit, but that seemed to barely slow DiploTot down. She had a blast and kept up with all of us the entire time. We were amazed that she didn’t crash any sooner.
Here are our awesome travel companions. Does this little guy travel in style, or what?
He loves the camera too.
It costs $15 per person to see the ruins, for another $15 per person, one can have access to the tunnels that have been dug by archaeologists. That sounded kinda cool, but in reality, I didn’t feel like it was worth that extra amount. I envisioned something much more elaborate than what it turned out to be.
It was a great trip and definitely worth the drive from Guatemala City. DiploTot was still going strong even once we got back to the car and did not fall asleep as we headed over to a Clarion hotel to have lunch and then use their pool for a bit. The power of the in-car DVD player!
Finally once we got back to our rooms, the siren call of sleep finally caught up to DiploTot. She hasn’t fallen asleep in one of our laps since she was probably a few months old.