Tikal With Kids

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The highlight of our time in Guatemala was Tikal National Park, the most incredible set of Mayan ruins in the world. But Tikal with kids, is that really going to work? Is it safe? Is it too hot, too high, too boring, too far? No way, the boys had a ball. It’s always important to learn something about the places you visit, before you go, we include some YouTube videos about Tikal for kids in this post.

Tikal with kids, Is it safe or OK to take kids to Tikal Guatemala

Get your children interested in the Maya, Guatemala and Tikal before you visit. We include links to educational resources in this post.

Tikal with Kids

Is Tikal Safe for Kids?

Well, it’s as safe as you make it. The pyramids are up to 70m high and yes, you can climb some of the incredibly steep stone stairs. Some of the pyramids have wooden stairways built out of sight to protect the monuments, some are closed to climbers.

Guatemala Tikal with kids. Steps are Ok for kids

If your children are anything like mine they’ll race off to the top without even pausing for breath leaving the adults puffing below. We had to insist on a degree of hand holding and edge avoidance, but we were happy that the kids were safe enough. Normal supervision really.

Is it Too Far for Kids to Walk Around the Tikal Site in the Heat?

Tikal with kids. Mayan pyramids with kids

It’s hot, but most of the vast Tikal site is shaded by sub-tropical rainforest, you’re not often in direct sunlight. There is a fair bit of ground to cover, the pyramids and temples are scattered through the forest, linked by clear paths. We spent almost 7 hours at Tikal and didn’t see it all. We had a guide, so we spent some time listening to him, sitting down. By the end of our visit my 7-year-old was really tired, hot and wanting a break for a while. Maybe we’re too soft, but he’s our baby, look how pleased he was to be carried.

Tikal with kids. It's hot!

TIPS for Tikal with kids: Go early, we left Flores at 4.30am to be at Tikal for 6am. By lunchtime the park was super hot and super crowded. There are toilets in the park and stalls to buy drinks and snacks but take as much water as you can carry. You can take small children into the park in buggies and strollers, the paths are good enough.

Is Tikal Interesting For Kids?

tikal with kids

Tikal was a huge hit with my boys. Their highlights included:

  • The great wildlife. Coatis, monkeys, birds, spiders and the ultra exciting bullet ants. ( Blame Steve Backshall for that!)
  • The Star Wars connection.
  • The Transformers Face.
  • The tarantula tree.
  • Exploring the residences, jumping and climbing, Tikal is like a huge adventure playground.
  • Gory stories and interesting tales of blood letting and sacrifice from our wonderful guide. He also taught the boys how to call to birds and monkeys.

Nothing will get your kids racing to Tikal faster, than telling them it was in Star Wars.

I’m a zoologist by training, but Steve Backshall has been responsible for more of my kids’ biological education than I have.

At Tikal we took the boys to the learning, it was an adventure, it was fun and it gave them lasting insight into the Mayans, history and archaeology.

family visit to tikal guatemala
steps tikal guatemala

Want to read more about our time in Guatemala, try these posts:

A month in Antigua

Lake Atitlan falling in love with Guatemala in San Pedro and San Marcos

Good Friday flower carpets and processions in Flores

Back to the Guatemala Travel Blog round up page

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

6 thoughts on “Tikal With Kids”

  1. What a great article! We’re currently dreaming of going to Guatemala again – we’ve been there before and we love, love love it! Here’s to a year with loads of travel plans and new experiences!

    – Veronika

  2. I first found your blog looking for a way to build my blog. I am now invested in your family’s travels! Its our family’s dream to World School. You and your family are an inspiration! I love the educational videos as well, they are enjoyable and informative.

    Vanessa 🙂

  3. Until I read this, I had no idea this place even existed – so glad you wrote about it – it is now officially on my want-to-see list! 🙂 It looks amazing!

  4. I whined more about the heat and being tired in Siem Reap than the kids did:) Heat and old monuments just require planning and an early start. Thanks for sharing — now I have something else to put on my list LOL.

  5. It looks like you had a brilliant time in Guatemala i have been and i love the Tikal National Park

  6. When a 7 year old asks to be carried, it’s serious. At 7, it was all I could do to get mine to hold my or their father’s hands. I’m bad in hot and humid too, and no one is going to carry me no matter how nicely I ask, but I’d really like to visit Tikal some day.


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