fun things to do with kids in tikal guatemala   Travel for Kids
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Tikal (Parque Nacional de Tikal)

Like the Egyptian pyramids or Machu Picchu, the Maya ruins of Tikal exceed your expectations. Kids sitting on on a limestone block atop a temple-pyramid, the jungle stretching beyond, it's simply spectacular. Ancient Tikal was so ahead of its time – scenes for the first "Star Wars" movie were filmed at Tikal (and the rebel base of Yavin was based on the Maya architecture).
    Tikal was inhabited for a thousand years, from 900 BC to 900 AD, and at its peak, it was one of the great lowlands Maya cities. The ruins are quite extensive, over 3,000 buildings, spread over a large area in the jungle (and more structures are still buried beneath the dense tropical forest). Today, Tikal is very much a local tradition. On weekends, Guatemalan families come to picnic with their children.
  Exploring the Maya Ruins
  Tikal Museums
  Wildlife - Animals & Birds
  Travel Tips Tikal with Kids
  Night sky - Tikal is a long way from any big cities, and the night sky is just magical. Over centuries, the Maya charted the path of the moon and planets (especially Venus) across the night sky. If you're staying in the hotels in the park, be sure to go out at night to gaze at the stars.
    Canopy Tours Tikal - Just outside the park, if kids want to fly through the jungle like a spider monkey, take the ziplines. Also available, hanging suspension bridges through the jungle, and horseback rides.



Near the entrance to the ruins, buy corn husk dolls, decorated with iridescent turkey feathers. At the shops next to the Visitors Center, buy wooden carvings of Guatemalan animals – jaguars, monkeys, armadillos, crocodiles, coatimundis, as well as stone-carved replicas of artifacts from the ruins and Guatemalan textiles.

kids books ancient maya tikal guatemala
Tikal kids books ancient maya  
Elizabeth Mann

Story of the kings of Tikal , especially Hasaw Chan K'awil, who constructed the pyramids in the Great Plaza. A stunning two page foldout and wonderful illustrations bring Tikal to life – you feel as if you're there, 1300 years ago. (Picture book)



Illustrated history of the ancient Maya – archeological discoveries, history of Tikal, Caracol, Copan and other city-states, lifestyles of the rulers and nobles, slaves and farmers, Maya gods and ceremonies, hieroglyphs, art and architecture. Rich, detailed historical illustrations. Good for older kids. (Chapter book)


The Ancient Maya kids books tikal guatemala
You Wouldn't Want to Be a Mayan Soothsayer kids tikal Guatemala  

Humorous, handy tips for training to be a soothsayer - how to pass your exams (learn the sacred calendar and all the different gods), forecasting the king's future, making jaguar sacrifices and jade offerings, and if you're lucky, you'll be allowed to drink hot chocolate, the holy food. (Picture book)


Secrets in Stone: All About Maya Hieroglyphs
Laurie Coulter, Sarah Jane English

Crack the code of Maya hieroglyphs – animals, people, places, fancy title glyphs, and what were Maya books and calendars. Make your own messages with the "glyphmaster." (Illustrated chapter book)


Secrets in Stone: All About Maya Hieroglyphs tikal guatemala kids
(More children's books on other Guatemala pages)
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