The entrance to the Tikal ruins is marked by this ceiba tree (pronounced "SAY-ba"), one of the largest trees in the Central America rainforest. The ancient Maya regarded the ceiba as the Tree of Life and believed that a great ceiba tree stood at the center of the earth, connecting the terrestrial world (roots = underworld) to the spirit-world above (branches = heaven). Even today, these grand trees are regularly spared when forests are cut.

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