The sheer scale of the ruins at Tikal can at first seem daunting. The central area, with its five main temples, forms by far the most impressive section; if you start to explore beyond this, you can ramble seemingly forever in the maze of smaller, unrestored structures and complexes. Compared with the scale and magnificence of the main area, they’re not that impressive, but armed with a good map (the best is in Coe’s guide to the ruins, available in the visitor centre), it can be exciting to search for some of the rarely visited outlying sections. Don’t even think about exploring the more distant structures without a map; every year at least one tourist gets lost in the jungle.


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