The Birthplace of the Mayan Civilization

El Mirador.. El Mirador …Chris was ready for this adventure. Not because he was so eager to see another Mayan archaeological site or visit what specialists call the birthplace of Mayan culture or climb the tallest Mayan pyramid ever found .. It was that Chris badly wanted to drive there. The only problem was that the place is so remote in the jungle that there is no road going there, visiting the site means to hike 5 days through the jungle, or take a helicopter. For some reason Chris was convinced, there was a road. So we asked every local we could get a grasp on but none of them knew about this mysterious road. “I do not believe it! Let’s go to Tikal first and ask there…” OK.

Tikal – We arrive there around noon and do not feel like visiting the ruins. Not because of the outrageous high entrance fee – 150 Quetzales, about 20 US Dollar (for foreigners) which is the equivalent of almost 3 weeks of income of the majority of the population, who has to live on 1 US Dollar a day. It’s not the money, we are OK with sponsoring the state, it’s simply too hot! So we put up our tent at a hotel parking and spend the rest of the day in the shade and online. We get up really early the next day and by 7am we climb up the first pyramid and we are sweating like crazy. The view is incredible, all we see is jungle and a few other pyramids sticking out of the forest. We walk around for three and a half hours, climb every pyramid we could and check out the fancy quarters of the kings and priests and their tombs. It must have been breathtaking arriving at this city about 1500 years ago. Tikal was a powerful kingdom respected as a cultural and economical center and feared for it’s cruel and effective warfare. Over 100.000 people lived and worked here. And all what is left now are a bunch of impressive stones in the jungle. We can only wonder about the scale and beauty of this place. Unbelievable!! And El Mirador? The answer was obvious. It’s too hot to try, let’s head south.

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