I arrived in Flores Guatemala which is basically an island in the middle of a fresh water lake after a 5 hour coach ride from Belize City. All the streets are cobbled and narrow and the temperature nice and cool most of the time. People don’t just come here for the sights around the lake but mostly to visit the ancient ruins of Tikal, rivalling those of Chichen Itza in Mexico.
I heard about a lake further south where the water had been rising constantly for years, so much so that you could now do diving tours and scuba dive into the hotels that were once on the edge of the lake and go and sit at the bar !
The lake at Flores is suffereing the same fate, the waters are rising covering once used roads and walkways, you can now see cobbled streets and park benches under water around the edge of the island. The people adapt rather than abandon and some have lost the lower levels of their property but simply gone up in the world.
Water levels rising covering the road –
Water now covers the road and pedestrian areas –
You can still go and sit on the park benches if you wish but roll your trousers up first
After a couple of days in Flores i booked a sunrise tour to Tikal. It was an early start with a pick up of 3 a.m. and about an hour and a half drive to Tikal. I was told by a fellow traveller that it was worth the early start especially as it got incredibly hot by midday.
I hadn’t realised but the area had been used by George Lucas to film one of the Stars Wars films – remember the one with the Wookiees running around the woods ? It was filmed in and around Tikal. He must have liked the place so much he came back later to record the sound track of the jungle waking up in the morning, the native Howler monkey starts screaching, and i mean really screaching before dawn breaks. The noise was recorded and used for some of the animals in the Jurassic Park films.
The bus arrived at the entrance to the park and we had a 20 minute walk up to the place where we would sit and wait for the sunrise. Walking along the paths in a jungle in the dark was strange enough but when the sounds of the Howler monkeys started it felt really eerie. They really make a blood curdling screaming cry from the tree tops, which apparantly can be heard for about 3 miles through dense rain forest.
We sat and waited for the sunrise but unfortunately due to a cloudy and drizzly start nothing came of it. The spectacular sunrise over the ancient Mayan ruins had decided to evade us this morning so down we came and started the tour around the rest of the ruins. The guide was a good English and Spanish speaking guide with great knowledge about the site.
This is where the sunrise should have happened –
The higher you go the closer you are to the Gods –