Subject: Guatemala

Tikal is absolutely worth visiting! We came in overland from Belize &it was my daughter-in-law's first dicey border crossing, but it went well once we got to Lake Peten &the park.

In the little village of Flores (all cobbly streets &fascinating history, if slightly blood-soaked), the only place I'm familiar with is the Yam Kax, clean, cheap, pretty bare bones.

At the park entrace, the Jungle Lodge has a few bungalows w/bath &running water. Good location. Cheapest place here is the camp ground sort of on an old airstrip; it used to be free but I haven't had any first-hand info on it for several years. Also 2 very basic accoms at park entrace, Tikal inn &Jaguar Inn (which has maybe 2 rooms? memory foggy here).

Around the north side of Lake Peten, about 30 min from the park is the Camino Real (it'll be over $100/night) with great lake views &reliable hot water &clean kitchen.

There are some open-air restaurants near the park entrance which looked fine to me ( remember my standards are remarkably low) but I've heard comments from folks who became ill from poor sanitation there. My view is that could happen in any kitchen anywhere! My stock comment is, if it looks dirty, it is &I go from there.

I'll dig around for some info on packages, but I'm blank for the moment. There's an advantage to being with a guide or small group, as tourists on their own are sometimes stopped by enterprising guerillas. Do check with Dept of State for advisories. Altho the ruins at Tikal are a draw for travelers &tourists alot, the area is under a lot of pressure with fractious political groups, indigenous culture concerns, archeological researchers &foreign-owned natural resource extractors, each group with its own agenda.

At the ruins, to climb to the top of Building IV, especially during full moon or a driving rainstorm, is not an experience you'll soon forget. I'd try to plan my visit around the full's spectacular!

Gail In Eugene