Tikal – how to camp in the park 101

Posted: December 11, 2010 in Guatemala

Tikal Guatemala


After many people telling me to check out Tikal, I decided to go for it. It’s a pretty nice place but sadly, is becoming more and more touristy every year. A hotel room can cost you around 60$ US but I was able to camp for 4$. The guy tried to charge me 4$ a night for my bike too so that I could park it next to my tent but we settled for 2$. The campground that’s owned by the park is pretty nice with ok security and so quiet and dark at night that you can’t even find your tent.

On the 2nd night, after talking to some people in the campground, I decided to go along with them and try to sleep inside the park by the ruins. We left our stuff in the campground, grabbed a bit of food, water and something to drink, and headed inside the park around 5pm. I had noticed earlier in the day that the Temple 6 side didn’t have that much attention from tourists so we tried that side.

Here is how to go sleep in Temple 6… a great kept secret in Tikal.

– Grab a blanket, warm cloth, sleeping bag if you have one, some food, some drinks and good hiking shoes. If you have a really compact tent, you can bring that too.

– With a ticket (150 Q) enter the park around 4:30-5pm

– Head over to Temple 6. It’s the first temple on the left.

– You will see a bunch of “No Climbing signs”. Ignore the signs as they are only for security reasons. Basically climb at your own risk!

– Climb the temple. Be really careful, the stones are slippery… really slippery!

– Once you get almost to the top, you’ll see that the temple has a room on the top. Go in that room and set-up camp. Do it while it’s light cause you can’t have light later or you’ll attract attention.

– Watch the sun set.

– Entertain yourself for the next 10 hours or try to sleep. Don’t even think about climbing down the temple in the dark! Once the sun has set, you’re trapped up there for the night.

– Wake up around 4:30 and watch the sun rise. Listen to the jungle.

– Climb down the temple and walk around the park till around 10pm or Noon. If you try to exit the park too early and your ticket is not valid anymore, you will be questioned and they might make you purchase a new ticket.

– If you get caught trying to do something “illegal” or not by the rules in Guatemala, remember that money is your best friend.

If you do the above, you’ll save the expensive sun rise and sun set guided tour. You also get a chance to camp in a temple high up above the trees… which is priceless.

Now for some pics of Tikal:

Tikal Guatemala

Tikal Guatemala

Tikal Guatemala

Tikal Guatemala

Tikal Guatemala

Tikal Guatemala

  1. E- says:

    Wow! This begins to resemble an Indiana Johns movie, except you being the main character and knowing itโ€™s real, makes it way more exciting (let alone the adrenaline rush!) Thank you!!!!

  2. Dan says:

    Hey Stefan,
    Great pics as allways man, my computers broke, but i`m still tracking you lol
    good to see your having a great time…and meeting lots of great people..
    make the most of your time and live it up.
    talk to you later peace…..

  3. Adam says:

    Looks beautiful man. Good luck with the rest of the trip – dying to get down to South America for Christmas but can’t afford the flights anymore – too much partying! Damn it!

    • pimptrix says:

      Ahh man, the more south you go, the nicer it gets. I can’t wait to see Nicaragua, everyone tells me it’s less touristic and less Americanized. I’ll be in Salvador for Christmas… where you think you gonna be buddy?

  4. katia says:

    aaa brings back memories, monkeys on the trees and taking a wrong turn in the jungle with cinnamon cookies, next thing you know you are surrounded by a large family of Guatemalans raccoons. They escort you to the path with more people in exchange of a few cookies. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Did you happen to see a Toucan????

    • pimptrix says:

      I dunno, Tikal is wayyyyyyyyy too touristic for my taste. Saw many Toucans and those raccoons too. Tikal is a nice place to see, but it’s going downhill because of the people running it who just try to rip off tourists as much as they can.

      • katia says:

        Did you give them cookies? ๐Ÿ™‚ I only saw one Toucan, and I was after it like a bad ass paparazzi. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. gustavo says:

    Hi, we did this, clim to the temple (sixth temple) and sleep on top, was very nice, and the howler monkey was a show very impresive, that night was a full moon on the jungle so imagine, awesome!!
    any way, there was a kind a bird a vultur i think,using, the room on the top, so we stayed in the midle of the temple…and men, is no cold!!!! is hot all the moment!!!!
    is dangerous to climb so carefull!

    we meet you on copan ruinas in a bar and you tell us about this, so, thanks for the info an luck with your trip!

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