On this last day of the year, we awoke eagerly anticipating our excursion to Tikal. Following breakfast, we were met by Noe, our guide for the next two days. During the hour-long drive, we were presented with much information about the ruins, and the lake Peten Itza area in general. While we had read a fair bit about the ruins if Tikal; naturally nothing can replace the actual experience of being there, and absorbing the sense of history and majesty of the place. This was the first cloudy day of our trip, and as we entered the Great Plaza, the skies opened. Taking shelter from the rain in that magnificent setting added to the sense of magic to the surroundings. Soon the rain abated and we made our way to Temple IV, the only temple that can be climbed. Fitted with a new wooden staircase, subtly hidden in the foliage adjacent to the temple, the climb was something of a challenge, but relatively easy and safe. At 212 feet, Temple IV is the tallest of Tikal's temples. From the top, the view over the canopy with several temples protruding from the carpet of green was spectacular. Back in Santa Elena, the location of our hotel, we changed out of our soggy clothes for an early New Year's Eve dinner. We had made a reservation at La Luna, reputedly one of the best restaurants in Flores. It did not disappoint, and since we were preparing for a 5:00 AM pick-up the following morning, for a change, we made this New Year's Eve an early night.
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