Guatemala
The Route

GUATEMALA

Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast.  Its area is 108,890 km2 with an estimated population of 13,276,500 people.

I have been to Guatemala twice before.  In 1998 I went to visit the ruins of Tikal and I went a second time just to the border town of Melchor to get a passport stamp some years later during one of my Belize trips.  My main stop in Guatemala will defiantly be to visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal.  This route also puts me on my direct route to Belize.  When it will be my time to leave Belize my Guatemala plan would be to take a boat from southern Belize back into Guatemala (on the Caribbean side) and then ride across Guatemala almost to the Pacific Coast.  Riding back across Guatemala would allow me to visit Lake Atitlan and Antigua.  I anticipate climbing a lot of mountains in Guatemala.  Guatemala will be the only Central American country that I will visit twice on my bike ride when I exit to Belize and then re-enter from southern Belize.  

Tikal - Tikal is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization.  It is located in the archaeological region of the Petén Basin in what is now northern Guatemala.  The site is part of Guatemala's Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya.  Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 to 900 AD.  During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily.  The site’s suspected abandonment was by the end of the 10th century.

In 1998 I visited Tikal and still remember climbing the huge temples.

Lake Atitlan - Is a beautiful lake located in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Antigua - Antigua is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish architecture as well as a number of spectacular ruins of colonial churches.  It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.