Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, Guatemala - Temple 1
Credit: Quasebart

The ancient Mayan city of Tikal, located in present-day Guatemala, has structures that date as far back as 400 BCE, though most of the structures were built in the Late Classic Period (600 – 900 CE).

One of the largest urban centers of the pre-Colombian Mayan civilization, the city was at its peak at around 700 CE. Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the ruins include five large pyramid temples, a large palace, small pyramids, tombs, and numerous other buildings with a grand total of 3,000 structures.

The University of Pennsylvania and the government of Guatemala have contributed to the restorations done on the site in recent years. Travelers can find a variety of accommodations in the nearby cities of Flores and Guatemala City.

Fans of the original Star Wars films may know Tikal as the “Massassi Outpost on the fourth moon of Yavin” from Episode IV: A New Hope.

Tikal, Guatemala - North Acropolis
Credit: Julian Attock
Tikal, Guatemala
Credit: Marc Devens
Tikal, Guatemala
Credit: passportstamper
Tikal, Guatemala
Credit: Edward Baranowski
Tikal, Guatemala
Credit: Margaret Randall
Tikal, Guatemala - Temple 2
Credit: Yogi
Tikal Guatemala - Temple 1
Credit: saricie.com
Tikal, Guatemala - Stela 31
Credit: Greg Willis