A village tienda in Northern Guatemala, near Flores Lake and the Belize border.

A village tienda in Northern Guatemala, near Flores Lake and the Belize border.

I had an interesting experience with these freelance documentary film-makers, who were making a movie about the

I had an interesting experience with these freelance documentary film-makers, who were making a movie about the "Survivor" TV show being filmed at one of the ruins nearby... we drove to the site of the show (which was heavily guarded), and tried to break in. Then we were followed by SUV's with tinted windows, tailgated for about 30 miles. Very weird. They eventually left us alone and we interviewed some locals...

flocks of very colorful butterflies... it is awesome when you walk through them, they flutter all around you in a colorful sea of yellow and green...

flocks of very colorful butterflies... it is awesome when you walk through them, they flutter all around you in a colorful sea of yellow and green...

One of the more primitive

One of the more primitive "hotels" I stayed at, in the lakeside village of El Remate.

the

the "outhouse" at the "hotel"... despite the primitive accommodations, it was a ton of fun here.

me and a Euro tourist, the only 2 staying at these accommodations at this time.

me and a Euro tourist, the only 2 staying at these accommodations at this time.

Lago Peten Itza, this was near the village of El Remate, the first place I stayed overnight in Guatemala.

Lago Peten Itza, this was near the village of El Remate, the first place I stayed overnight in Guatemala.

An awesome tree!

An awesome tree!

the Tikal ruins.........

the Tikal ruins.........

sweet Mayan doorway

sweet Mayan doorway

WASP hive!!!

WASP hive!!!

The Tikal ruins, the most famous of Guatemala's many Mayan ruins...

The Tikal ruins, the most famous of Guatemala's many Mayan ruins...

This temple was very tall and steep...

This temple was very tall and steep...

I'm tiny standing at the foot of the largest of Tikal's temples..

I'm tiny standing at the foot of the largest of Tikal's temples..

Tourist mega-hoards scattered throughout Tikal's main plaza...

Tourist mega-hoards scattered throughout Tikal's main plaza...

Sweetness!

Sweetness!

I took the bus up here from El Remate, the bus left at sunrise and we stayed till almost sunset, lots to see here and plenty to keep you busy...

I took the bus up here from El Remate, the bus left at sunrise and we stayed till almost sunset, lots to see here and plenty to keep you busy...

looking down from one of the temples

looking down from one of the temples

scattered through the jungle

scattered through the jungle

talking along a narrow edge of one of them, lol!

talking along a narrow edge of one of them, lol!

an amazing place to explore!

an amazing place to explore!

This was the temple I saw huge flocks of monkeys nearby...

This was the temple I saw huge flocks of monkeys nearby...

The much lesser-known ruins of Uaxactun, north of Tikal....

The much lesser-known ruins of Uaxactun, north of Tikal....

I had an interesting adventure regarding these ruins...

I had an interesting adventure regarding these ruins...

... planning on taking a day trip up here, all the way from El Remate village.  And making it back the same night... but I later found out there was only one bus going here per day (at most).  So the ride is not very far, but took a long time down the dusty, bumpy dirt road.  Luckily, you could freely smoke on the bus....

... planning on taking a day trip up here, all the way from El Remate village. And making it back the same night... but I later found out there was only one bus going here per day (at most). So the ride is not very far, but took a long time down the dusty, bumpy dirt road. Luckily, you could freely smoke on the bus....

... well as soon as I got to the tiny little village, I headed into the jungle to locate the ruins.  But just as I found them, an enormous, violent thunderstorm rolled in.  Luckily, the ruins I was currently at had this indoor area, and I took refuge from the storm.  It was cool, it appeared I was the absolute only one at the ruins, and I had this whole ancient ruin to myself, miles away from anyone (except perhaps jaguars) during the storm.  And then, it began to get dark...

... well as soon as I got to the tiny little village, I headed into the jungle to locate the ruins. But just as I found them, an enormous, violent thunderstorm rolled in. Luckily, the ruins I was currently at had this indoor area, and I took refuge from the storm. It was cool, it appeared I was the absolute only one at the ruins, and I had this whole ancient ruin to myself, miles away from anyone (except perhaps jaguars) during the storm. And then, it began to get dark...

A baby waddles outside as a colorful parrot is perched on the fence post.  Dogs and roosters roam all around the hut.  Village life in Uaxactun, baby!

A baby waddles outside as a colorful parrot is perched on the fence post. Dogs and roosters roam all around the hut. Village life in Uaxactun, baby!

.... finally, it got too dark to stay there any longer (it was a few miles away from the village, but it was only linked by a narrow trail and I had no flashlight; and certainly would've gotten lost had I tried to walk in the dark.  So I hurried back to the village and got this extremely primitive

.... finally, it got too dark to stay there any longer (it was a few miles away from the village, but it was only linked by a narrow trail and I had no flashlight; and certainly would've gotten lost had I tried to walk in the dark. So I hurried back to the village and got this extremely primitive "hotel" for the night. No electricity, so this is how I spent the night... out on the porch, catching up on my journal writing under candle-light, with the resident dog at my side...

My

My "hotel", which was actually pretty nice. Me and one single Guatemalan dude were the only tenants of the place. And I saw absolutely no tourists my 2 days here. A far cry from the Disneyland-like atmosphere of the nearby Tikal ruins.

the inside of my room, you can see how large the cracks between the boards of the

the inside of my room, you can see how large the cracks between the boards of the "wall" are. And no fan or electricity after like 8pm. No mosquito net and plenty of mosquitos (luckily the old hotel man gave me coils and they worked okay). Don't worry, it was like 2 dollars per night. And it was very peaceful.

... the next day, I toured more of the ruins.

... the next day, I toured more of the ruins.

Since there was nobody around, I had the whole ruins to myself and took many timer-photos!

Since there was nobody around, I had the whole ruins to myself and took many timer-photos!

By this time, was becoming a pro at them.

By this time, was becoming a pro at them.

, as you can see!

, as you can see!

A lone wild mule grazes at the foot of a temple.

A lone wild mule grazes at the foot of a temple.

... then, I returned to the village (which had a grassy airstrip acting as the central

... then, I returned to the village (which had a grassy airstrip acting as the central "plaza", and a pack of horses grazed on it), and looked for the next bus back. Since it was already afternoon by now, the bus had already left! I didn't much care if I was stuck here another day (except the fact that my backpack and all my stuff was back in El Remate), but I managed to hitch a ride about an hour later, so I got back by nightfall. Boo-yeah.

Uaxactun

Uaxactun "Plaza Principal"

Unloaded the ol' backpack during my stay at a great hotel in Santa Elena, near Lago Peten Itza and Flores.

Unloaded the ol' backpack during my stay at a great hotel in Santa Elena, near Lago Peten Itza and Flores.

View of a Santa Elena street, from the roof of my hotel.

View of a Santa Elena street, from the roof of my hotel.

Looking out at Flores, from San Benito lakefront

Looking out at Flores, from San Benito lakefront

late afternoon... sunset approaches over Lago Peten Itza

late afternoon... sunset approaches over Lago Peten Itza

San Benito street scene

San Benito street scene

Boats (1 about to sink) docked in Flores.

Boats (1 about to sink) docked in Flores.

View of Flores from the boat!

View of Flores from the boat!

... this was a sweet boat ride.  It involved a crazy Belizean dude, a lot of Gallo beer, etc

... this was a sweet boat ride. It involved a crazy Belizean dude, a lot of Gallo beer, etc

The shores of Flores, the town is built on an island (linked by bridge to the mainland), on Lake Peten Itza.

The shores of Flores, the town is built on an island (linked by bridge to the mainland), on Lake Peten Itza.

Looking out from a hotel balcony

Looking out from a hotel balcony

fixing the tin roof

fixing the tin roof

Sayaxche, a very small town on the banks of the La Pasion river, in Central Guatemala, miles and miles from anywhere else.  Very laid-back.

Sayaxche, a very small town on the banks of the La Pasion river, in Central Guatemala, miles and miles from anywhere else. Very laid-back.

long boats lined along the river banks, their owners ready to negotiate rides to the nearby El Ceibal ruins...

long boats lined along the river banks, their owners ready to negotiate rides to the nearby El Ceibal ruins...

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