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Photos: Some of the World's Largest Mayan Ruins, at Tikal

August 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM | by | ()

Temple 5 at Tikal

Located in the north of Guatemala, Tikal is one of the world's largest Mayan archaeological sites. The University of Pennsylvania and the Guatemalan government have teamed up to unearth it partially, but much remains underground, including the backsides of many of the structures you see in the photos.

In that, visitors get a sense of just how much remains unknown about this mysterious culture. In total, the "residential area" of Tikal sprawls out over an area of 20 miles, and as you might imagine, only a small percentage has been cleared and mapped. The best excavated portion of the site is called the Great Plaza, which includes the stunning Northern Acropolis, shown in the first photo below.

Aside from renting a car to make the seven-hour drive, Tikal can be reached from Guatemala City by plane, bus, or private shuttle, the choice coming down to your time constraints and budget. It's a short 45-minute flight, but will probably cost over $200 round trio. Buses are $55 one way and can take up to 9 hours with stops. The cost of a private shuttle will fall somewhere in between depending on the amount of people, and will obviously be a little faster and more comfortable than the bus.

Regardless of how you get there, you're in for a real treat when you arrive:

The Northern Acropolis, part of the Great Plaza at Tikal

Great Plaza at Tikal

One of the Twin Pyramids at Tikal

Part of the Plaza of the Seven Temples

Ground view of the Northern Acropolis

[Photos: Will McGough]

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