Safe at Tikal?

Old Apr 5th, 2007, 04:53 AM
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Safe at Tikal?

Are tourists still being targeted at Tikal and the area? I realize things can change on a moment's notice, but considering doing Tikal instead of Chan Chich in Belize. Significant other not too sure about the safety issue.

General idea would be to fly from Belize City to Flores and stay 2 nights at Jaguar Inn at the park entrance and then fly back.

Reading the US Consular sheets it says that the Peton region is not that safe - isn't that where Tikal is located?

Thoughts? Comments?
THANKS!
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 06:25 AM
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Head on over to the Thorn Tree forums on Lonely Planet...a TON more Guatemala posters over there (http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com).

I was a bit nervous when I read the US consular sheet as well...but after researching more, we're headed to Tikal in May. I believe it's a "don't wander off alone to the remote areas of the park" awareness of your surroundings type of thing.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 07:48 AM
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I was in Tikal two weeks ago. I never felt unsafe and doubt you will have any problems.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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We just took our second trip to Tikal and other places in Guat in two years. We love it there and can't wait to go back next year. Not that we don't still love CR and we do own property in CR but it is a different kind of place. If you decide to go I can give you the email address of a great guide. He can meet you at the park. People are still pretty poor there so he doesn't have his own computer yet but he has access to one at an internet cafe near his house in El Remate. He does travel as a guide so doesn't always get to you right away. He will be traveling with us to the Rio Dulce and Honduras next year. He grew up in the park and knows everything about it. If you like birds he is incredible. He speaks very good english and actually had a walk on on the Survivor Guatemala show and did a lot of work with building stuff etc for the show.

I also have some names for the Antigua area.

There has been a little trouble recently in Yaxha because squatters are trying to move in but we where there both trips as well and never saw any problems. I don't think they are a problem near the Yaxha temples if you have time to go there. Those parks are huge so the problems were not near the tourist area.

On the road to Tikal from Flores you will see real life in Guatemala. Horses, pigs, turkeys, chickens in the road, trash. The park itself is well kept and clean. Bathrooms nice. They were building more this year when I was there.

We were in Caracol and Xunantunich in Belize a few years ago. They can't compare to Tikal. Caracol is actually having security problems right now as well. They were our first ruins so we were very impressed at the time.

Last year I was nervous too. Were were going to be riding on a lot of roads between Atitlan, Antigua, and Tikal. For the first few hours I thought that robbers were going to be jumping out with machine guns and hijacking us. No problems at all. The country is starting to embrace tourism now that the civil war is over and they are working to make things better for tourists. In many of the larger cities they have tourist police that you can ask to go hiking with you if you are nervous. It is still advised in some areas but we never ever felt threatened at all.

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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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PS

search for Guatemala Revisited on this forum. I have a trip report as well as pictures.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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Ok, ok, I take it back people ARE posting about Guatemala on here!

Thanks y'all!

Suise - I'll check out your other post. Did you happen to hike Pacaya while you were there? that's one of the things I'm sure to do. And since you mentioned El Remate...we're staying @ La Casa de Don David when we're there. Know anything about the place? I would love to have the guide's email address as well.

Last question, we're planning on two days in Tikal and another "free" day in the area (possibly back at Tikal, possiblt Yaxha, possibly just exploring the area) while we await an overnight bus back to GC...is that too much time?
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Please share the Tikal guide's name with me and contact information with me - I'll be heading back there in August. If you prefer, my email address is [email protected]
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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Airwayvz,

You have probably read by now that we did hike Pacaya (sort of). I couldn't resist getting on a horse so I rode up but walked down. My knees hurt for 2 weeks after because it is so steep. It is a pleasant walk/ride up through the woods. We did hire a guide at the base. Will have to check with hubby for cost. The horse rental was only Q50-about $10. I "bought" a hiking stick from a little boy to use before I decided to ride the horse. It was only a couple of dollars but he asked for it back when we got back down LOL. No dummy there.

Short story long...guide book said to look out for robbers and rapists. There were tons of people and we felt perfectly safe. We did see a couple of people who had some tourist police with them. It was an incredible place.

Will get Luis's info from hubby.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Sorry, almost forgot other questions,
Have not heard one negative thing about La Casa de Don David. We stayed up the road at another little place but wished we hadn't. The room was darling but the food was awful and the horses, turkeys etc partied all night. El Remate is a very little town but they do have some nice gift shops. Very friendly place.

Most people are out of Tikal by about 1pm so you could get to Yaxha for a few hours. First year we had our own car and left about that time. This year we mostly birded with Luis and then I wandered around the ruins alone while they went to a quarry for some limestone samples for my husbands geology professor. I met them on top of Temple 4 for the sunset.

You could think about some time in Flores. It is a funky little town. Lots of backpackers and gift shops. We took a boat out on lago Peten Itza but it broke down so we had to limp back to the dock.
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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Haha, yep I read about your Pacaya hike. Good to hear from someone who rode a horse part way...my wife was already hoping that it would be an option for her!

After hiking Pacaya, taking an overnight bus, and climbing all over the ruins of Tikal for two days, we may just be ready to leisurely visit Flores before catching the return overnight bus!

If you prefer to email the conact info for Luis, just send it to [email protected]

Thanks for all the tips!

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Old Apr 5th, 2007, 09:35 PM
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[email protected]

He does have a cell phone that I can give you if you have trouble reaching him via email.

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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 05:30 AM
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thanks for the guide recommendation and for your trip report. Haven't made a final decision yet on trip plans but now I don't feel as concerned.

Suzie - since you have been to Bosque del Cabo - how does the monkey and other animal experiences compare?
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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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Suzie - thanks for sharing! I'll check that out when we have our timing nailed down a little better.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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As far as comparing Bosque del Cabo and Tikal...it really is like comparing apples and oranges to me. I enjoy them both for different reasons. That doesn't help but hopefully you will get a better feel for each place when I finish this.

Tikal is so huge that obviously there are going to be more animals and birds. I felt more like I was in a real jungle in Tikal because of the massive size of it. But then, we were out there with a guide in the forest not just wandering around the temples. We walked for hours but never seemed to get very far. There were monkeys and parrots everywhere. The other birds were fantastic as well. We did only see 2 species of monkeys. Tikal to me is not just about the monkeys and birds though. I have become fascinated with the thought of a whole different civilization having lived there. There is so much history. A lot of which we will probably never really know. I really think that my favorite time down there in two trips was when the guys left me alone in the ruins for a couple of hours. Most of the tourists were gone and I could just let my imagination run wild. Even though it wasn't silent there was a sense of silence and aloneness like walking into the house when you are expecting people to be home. Like they have left but haven't turned the lights out.

On the other hand, talk about massive! You have the whole Pacific ocean to look out at while at Bosque! You can easily see 4 species of monkeys just sitting on your deck while sipping a glass of wine or drinking a beer. I have had them going overhead while showering. Peccaries, coatis, agoutis, tyras, Scarlet macaws, snakes, and now even cats are seen on Bosque property which is not small either. Some of those trails are deep in the woods. I love the Zapatero trail. Cabo Matapalo as a whole is a very unique area for wildlife. I don't think people truly understand why but are grateful for what is and are trying to figure it out. You also have more of a sense of connection between you and the other guests by having the chance to have a drink possibly before dinner or just comparing notes at the family style dinners. Maybe sharing time on one of the tours or while just walking the trails. It is a place to go to relax and see as much or as little as you want.
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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Thanks Suzie - that was a great description.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 01:52 PM
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Another great guide for peten and Tikal. Contact at 51904216. Have fun. Mauricio.
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