As promised, some photos from the ruins of Palenque and Tikal…

In the heart of the Chiapas lowlands of Mexico lies Palenque. Dating back as far as 100BC, it flourished in the 7th century before it’s downfall in 800AD. It has been well excavated and this medium-sized site makes for a lovely way to spend a morning.

Tikal in El Peten region of Guatemala was amazing. Set amongst thick forests the area is teeming with wildlife and you are sure to see your fair share. We saw lots of spider monkeys, heard the haunting cry of the howler monkeys, as well as a fairly tame coatimundi and plenty of birdlife too, Although Tikal dates back to 400BC, making ti older than Palenque, it reached prominence during 200-900AD,where it was the capital of one of the most powerful Mayan kingdoms. This site is massive and you walk between the various ruins on paths running through the jungle.

It’s not exactly clear the reason for the Mayan civilisation’s rapid downfall. Although the primary thought is that there was a severe drought in the region, recent evidence seems to suggest that only a mild drought would have been enough to cause crop failure, leading to internal wars and eventual the collapse.