Sounds of the Jungle – Howler Monkeys in Tikal, Guatemala
We are not morning people. So when you find us awake before the sun you can pretty much bank on the fact that something special is about to happen.
We spent a couple nights at the Jungle Lodge, one of three hotels located just outside the entrance to Tikal National Park. We were advised by multiple travel bloggers and friends to catch a sunset or sunrise while visiting the once glorious Mayan city.
We decided to do both.
Most tourist buses and tour groups arrive around 9:00AM but the gates open at 6:00AM. Translation – we had the entire park to ourselves for a few hours before the crowds arrived. So, we set our alarm clock, battled our desire to sleep and entered the park at 6:00AM sharp.
The jungle came alive as we hiked towards the main plaza (pictured above). Dry leafs crunched under our hiking shoes as the giant trees crackled and swayed in the morning breeze. Birds chirped and called to one another, as if they were warning each other that humans were approaching.
Then it happened. We heard the thunderous howler monkeys!
It was insane. The monkeys sounded like angry lions on steroids. We’ve never heard wild animals make so much noise, especially given their relatively small size.
Click on the image below to watch the video and crank up the volume.
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Watch directly on our YouTube channel – Sounds of the Jungle in Tikal
We sat on the stone walls in the central plaza for what seemed like hours, listening to the sounds of the jungle and visualizing what the city would have looked like during its peak. We only saw a handful of people that morning, which surprised us – but we weren’t complaining. It reminded us of the time we first witnessed Machu Picchu at sunrise.
It’s surreal moments like this that keep us coming back for more!
Have you seen (or heard) howler monkeys in the wild?
Share your experience in the comments section below, we’d love to read about it!