Tikal National Park is one of the few World Heritage properties inscribed according to both natural and cultural criteria for its extraordinary biodiversity and archaeological importance. It comprises 57,600 hectares of wetlands, savannah, tropical broadleaf and palm forests with thousands of architectural and artistic remains of the Mayan civilization from the Preclassic Period (600 B.C.) to the decline and eventual collapse of the urban centre around 900 AD. In 1979, listed in UNESCO Heritage list.
Located in Northern Guatemala’s Petén Province within a large forest region often referred to as the Maya Forest, which extends into neighbouring Mexico and Belize.
About Tikal National Park
1. Tikal National Park is an outstanding example of the art and human genius of the Maya. The diverse ecosystems and habitats harbour a wide spectrum of neotropical fauna and flora. Five cats, including Jaguar and Puma, several species of monkeys and anteaters and more than 300 species of birds are among the notable wildlife. The forests comprise more than 200 tree species and over 2000 higher plants have been recorded across the diverse habitats.
2. Tikal, a major Pre-Columbian political, economic and military centre, is one of the most important archaeological complexes left by the Maya civilization. An inner urban zone of around 400 hectares contains the principal monumental architecture and monuments which include palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, small and medium sized residences, ball-game courts, terraces, roads, large and small squares.
3. Many of the existing monuments preserve decorated surfaces, including stone carvings and mural paintings with hieroglyphic inscriptions, which illustrate the dynastic history of the city and its relationships with urban centres as far away as Teotihuacan and Calakmul in Mexico, Copan in Honduras or Caracol in Belize. A wider zone of key archaeological importance, around 1,200 hectares, covers residential areas and historic water reservoirs, today known as “aguadas”.
4. The extensive peripheral zone features more than 25 associated secondary sites, historically serving protective purposes and as check-points for trade routes. The peripheral areas also played a major role for agricultural production for the densely populated centre.
5. Tikal National Park has unique elements that illustrate the historic, mythical and biographic data of the Tikal dynastic sequence. These exceptional records span over 577 years (292 b. C. to 869 a. D.) and register the lives of 33 rulers who reigned over a vast territory of the ancient Maya world. The earliest stone sculpture is Stela 29 dated to the year 292 and the last monument sculptured is Stela 11 dated to the year 869.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Guatemala then the best time of year to visit weather-wise is in December and January, when everything is still green from the rains, but the sky is clear. The dry season runs from November to April, but even in the wet season the rainfall is generally only for a couple of hours a day in the main visitor regions. Guatemala has a pleasant climate that lends itself to year-round visits.