a VirtualTourist member from DeQuincy
My Boyfriend and I are planning on visiting Tikal in July. So I am wondering, is it safer to take a guide to the ruins or is it ok to hoof it on your own? Are there a lot of trails, do they provide a map? Also, we may take my 7 yr old daughter.
The ruins are very easy to walk on your own. If you are traveling with a Lonely Planet or similar guide book you will already have a map (you can also buy an overpriced one at the gate). Also, there is a large map just inside the entry which you can photograph with your digital and reference later if needed. The area is quite large but getting lost is fairly difficult even without a map. Where safety is concerned – are you worried about getting lost, getting mugged, animals? I wouldn't worry too much. Hundreds of people roam the ruins every day without issue. If you do take a tour I would make sure you allow yourself some time away from your group to enjoy the place on your own. Tours are great for information but wandering place to place with 20 or 30 people tends to take the magic out of a spot – for me anyway.
I had four people in my tour group so I didn't feel too crowded-The guides are very knowledgable and can tell you alot.Not all of them speak english though.I've heard stories of people getting mugged in the more remote places but you hear that about everywhere in central america. If you.ve got the time to wander around on your own and I say go for it, If you are only gonna be there one day get a guide.
Tikal guides are very knowledgeable about the names (in Spanish) of local flora and fauna. which you will never rembember. They will also entertain you and keep you from getting lost at Tikal, but their real knowledge about the Maya generally sucks.
Most travel book guides will have more accurate information about Tikal than the local guides will. If you have one of them, a compass and a map, and you stay on the main trails, you should be fine.
for printing a map.
Start as early in the day as possible and have plenty of DEET.