Nearly four years ago, I visited Tikal with Amber, Saison, Dean, and Mariah. Very little has changed since that time. Most noticeably, more areas are restricted to the public - not to be considered a deterrent however as none of the signs are obeyed by anyone (well, I obeyed them) (mostly). The other thing that was different was that there were almost no animals this time.
The greatest sensation I felt when visiting Tikal was the heat and humidity. I drank tons of water. We brought a 5 gallon jug from Tactic, so we had lots of 25 degree water to drink.
The second greatest sensation I felt was the power of nature to destroy. Here were palaces and temples and altars and commemorative markers all made of stone - but all of them have lost their functionality due to the power of roots and decaying plants and wind/water erosion. Huge trees dwarf some of the buildings that used to stand majestically on a paved street 1000 years ago.
The third greatest sensation I felt was very strong curiosity - every guide you talk to in the park tells a different story about the history of this Mayan city. No one knows for sure what life was like or why it ended so quickly or what the buildings were used for exactly.
My papa visited us the week prior to our trip to Tikal. We decided to make the trip to shorten his bus ride to Cancún, Mexico where he caught a plane. My family strolled around the ruins without any pressing agenda. It was really good to have that with my wife, son, and father.
The second day, only my father went to the park with me. We had nearly the whole day to visit the portion of the park we hadn't seen the first afternoon. We spent a good portion of the time visiting with people we met - a computer programmer from Poland and his New Zealander wife (a teacher), a nurse from Vancouver, a retired couple from Nantes, France, a Guatemalan photographer. The rest of the time, we climbed, took photos, ate melted chocolate andtrail mixx, and enjoyed eachother's company among the jungle vapors.