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Tikal With Kids. Discovering the Maya in Tikal Guatemala.

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 it Safe?

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

Good Friday Procession Flores Guatemala
Bus From Flores to Guatemala City. So Bad?


Tuesday 20th of March 2018

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 :)


Tuesday 29th of April 2014

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!


Sunday 27th of April 2014

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.

mick brock

Thursday 24th of April 2014

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

Suzanne Fluhr

Wednesday 23rd of April 2014

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.