Subject: Guatemala, Tikal

We had been hiking in the highlands of Belize & visiting the ruins up in the rain forest at Caracol, my son, daughter-in-law & I. It was great comfort to have my son along; besides being funny & resourceful, he's a big burly confident guy & I know that helps in some sticky situations.

The drive was about 2 hours from Windy Hill, as I recall.

We had hired a wonderful local guide in Belize who drove us in a van across the border. He had done it several times, but he is Indian (from New Delhi)/Nicaraguan ¬ very assertive. Tourists get out of their vehicles (drivers with Belize or Guatemalan papers take the vehicle straight across with little hassle), pass thru a couple of checkpoints, go into a little building &down a narrow hall into an office where an official takes his time recognizing you, looking at papers &stamping things with great brio. The guide can't accompany the tourist thru the checkpoints apparently. I felt there were lots of folks sizing us up: there were groups of men, all told probably 75 in number, just lounging around in the buildings, beside the border barriers & along the road, in civilian clothes, as well as lots of military with guns. But I think this is just the way borders are in areas where things are in flux. I've certainly been thru worse, & without that big burly kid of mine. (Well, he's almost 40, tho still kid to me!)

Would I do it again? Absolutely! Going via Guatemala makes sense if Tikal is your main focus, coming from Belize logical if you want other ruins with Tikal as the final frosting.

I'll dig some more for tour info; still dry this morning.

Gail In Eugene but never for long