As you may know, I flew down to Flores with the hope of finding a helicopter to fly me into El Mirador, a huge, largely unexcavated Mayan city in the jungle, where I could overnight before flying back. The helicopter was essential as otherwise the trip required two days of trekking in and out. I would have loved to do the trek, but I just didn’t have enough time.
Upon arriving, I discovered the the cost of the helicopter (which I’d decided I was happy spending a fortune on) would be $5000. That was not the fortune I had in mind. As it turns out, they no longer keep a helicopter in Flores, so you have to pay to fly it in. I do wonder if that might be because the helicopter in Flores crashed or something.
So, it was time to execute the backup plan. The backup plan was an equally impressive and much easier to reach, excavated complex called Tikal. This is the reason that most people visit the area. Everything I’d read about the place said you should go at sunrise to avoid the heat of the day. This would have required a 2am wake up.
Instead, after telling Nelson, the guy on the tour desk at Los Amigos, that I wanted to take pictures he recommended the sunset trip. His reason was that the sunrise is often obscured by the mist rising from the jungle, but the sunset was visible. So, I booked a trip at the hottest time of the day, but at least I could sleep in.
I awoke at 6am. My room was boiling. So, I went for a cold shower and set out for some post sunrise pics of Flores before tucking into breakfast at the hostel. Following that I settled into a hammock with George Orwell’s 1984 to kill the time before my tour. I came very close to dozing off, but managed to climb out in time for the trip.
Tikal was amazing. I’ve got a lot of photos of the area so will tell you more about it as I post them. One thing I can say is this, I’m glad I went in the afternoon. Yes, it was absolutely boiling and I sweat more than I think I ever have in my life. But, my tour group of about ten people seemed to be the only people that were as stupid as me and willing to go in the heat of the day. We had the entire place to ourselves. After watching the sunset atop a pyramid we descended to walk back through the temples in almost total darkness.