Stretching from Mexico in the north to the frozen landscapes of Patagonia deep in the southern hemisphere, Latin America claims the majority of real estate in the Western Hemisphere. Great indigenous empires once ruled here: the Aztecs, the Mayas, and the Incas. The remnants of these civilizations reveal advanced skills in the sciences and engineering and still boggle the minds of academics and travelers alike. Some are well known: Macchu Picchu in Peru, Tikal in Guatemala, Tulum in Mexico.
The temples of Tikal, for instance, only began to be unearthed in the 1950s. The majority of Tikal’s 23-square miles has yet to be mapped, cleared or unearthed. What has been unearthed, however, is astonishing. Rising up from the heart of a massive jungle known as the Petén, Tikal’s vastness is slowly being revealed.
Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and active archaeological investigation. It is one of Latin America’s true gems, and visitors can become more intimately acquainted with the mysteries of Tikal and the Petén by spending a night or two in the heart of the jungle. Lights are out at midnight when the generators shut down and only the sounds of the jungle remain. Next – Part 2