For viewing archaeological sites in something close to their natural state, it doesn’t get much better than Tikal. This temple has been excavated, but it’s sister, which was located behind me was still very much in the condition it was found in, buried and covered in trees. It looked just like a big hill.
We had the added bonus that we were on a sunset tour, meaning we started in the blazing afternoon heat that most tourists aren’t stupid enough to mess with. As a result, we had the whole place to ourselves. I thought it was worth it, though it officially marked the sweating through of every t-shirt I had brought to Guatemala on my second day there.
Back when Tikal was buzzing, the entire area was cleared of vegetation and paved with gleaming white stone. The temples and stele like those shown in the picture were painted in gaudy bright colours.
I found it interesting that the Mayans had flattened a large portion of the jungle for their city and farmland, considering that we have this idealized view that the ancient natives of the Americas lived in tune with nature.