548km (340 miles) NE of Guatemala City; 65km (40 miles) N of Flores; 100km (62 miles) NW of the Belize border

Often shrouded in mist and mystery, Tikal is one of the greatest of the surviving Classic Maya cities, and is estimated to have once supported a population of about 100,000 people. Archaeologists have identified more than 3,000 structures, and in its heyday, the city probably covered as much as 65 sq. km (25 sq. miles). The pyramids here are some of the most perfect examples of ceremonial architecture in the Maya world. Standing atop Temple IV, you are high above the rainforest canopy. The peaks of several temples poke through the dense vegetation, toucans and parrots fly about, and the loudest noise you'll hear is the guttural call of howler monkeys.