Flores seems a bit extinct and boring, but undoubtedly a beautiful town. Also, a starting point to the famous Mayan ruins Tikal. The greatest extent travelers based in Flores for Tikal, as there’s an amount of accommodations offer. However, there isn’t much to do in Flores.
Also, Belize is close by, likely most of the travelers pursue their trip by crossing the border.
One may wonder why this place is so popular, not only for Tikal. The truth is: We have been touring in Guatemala for ten days. Travelers come from everywhere, but that is likely to happen if traveling in December. Many people from Europe, America, and Russia evade the cold winter. Going on a trip at this time of the year, that is indisputably the case.
Some Places are Not On The Tourist Trail
We were visiting four places in Guatemala, one of the towns we have visited really given us a kick of surprise. The day before, we wander through the small town of Rio Dulce and barely met any tourist. Such a superb feeling, tourists are not around. At first, we thought we’re in the wrong place?
No, it was the right place. Is just that everyone follows the same route while traveling in Guatemala. And Rio Dulce is not on the tourist trail for most people.
Getting to Flores from Rio Dulce!
The travel time from Rio Dulce to Flores takes 4 hours. There is no bus station in Rio Dulce. The bus ticket must book in advance in one of the hotel counters.
The bus came from somewhere and commonly it scheduled to go at 3:30 pm. However, it was delayed and arrived at 5:00 pm. It was expectable as what we heard from other travelers.
We haven’t much experience with local buses in Guatemala; it is, in fact, the first public bus we had.
We use shuttles while touring in the country, maybe not the cheapest way, but they are at least on time. There’s no shuttle from Rio Dulce to Flores, so we have no options. By the way, a significant extent, we reached Flores that day. Usually, I don’t like arriving in a place at night, especially if not familiar with the area.
Arriving in Flores at night
We reached Flores at 9:00 pm. Arriving at night in a place is uncomfortable. However, Flores is a pretty small town and safe for tourist. Thankfully, our hotel is just a short walk from the bus stop. Already emailed our hotel for our late arrival, ensuring we didn’t arrive in a closing door. It was pretty late, and we are hungry. Thank goodness, there was plenty of restaurants near the hotel and still, open late in the evening.
That is one thing I like in Guatemala; most of the establishments are open late in the evening, make everyone’s life so much easier.
But the first thing we have done after settling down the bags to our room searching for a tour agency, as we plan to visit Tikal the next day. By chance, there was one next door, how blissful. We could choose the morning or in the afternoon, but we opt for the afternoon tour.
Exploring the charming town
Stroll to the central square
Take a Lake tour
Stroll at the lakeside; some will be dealing with the boatmen offers a lake tour. We have done the river tour in Rio Dulce, and it was gorgeous. We skip the lake tour in Flores. The boatmen can be persuasive; if one will go on a boat ride, negotiate the price. That is simple. One can spend 30 minutes on the boat up to one hour.
Visit the modern town Santa Elena
From the historic town, walk through the causeway. The center of Santa Elena offers a lot of shopping and dining opportunities. If shopping is not on one’s interest, strolling around it does not cost anything. Furthermore, what to see is just modern buildings — the opposition of old town Flores.
Visiting Tikal half or one day
The highlights of the trip to see the Mayan ruins. Tikal is more than one hour from Flores, which can be easily visited by yourself. For convenience, we joined the tour. When booking the trip, we could choose the morning or the afternoon. As I’m not a morning person, we decide to visit Tikal in the afternoon which departs in Flores at noon.
Getting to Tikal from Flores and Park admission
From Flores, the essential part is booking the shuttle. It cost 75 Quetzales for a return trip. Beware, the shuttle can be crowded and somehow an uncomfortable journey for more than one hour.
Once arriving at the park, the bus driver will stop at the ticketing counters, and buy your tickets. The entrance fee to the park is 150 Quetzales, and require a passport when purchasing a ticket. From the ticketing booth, the shuttle will continue to the main parking of the park.
To be aware: it is a massive park located in the jungle, but there were options; going on a guided tour or going on your own. The choices are yours! We did it on our own.
What to bring when visiting the park?
Definitely, bring a mosquito repellent. Moreover, good walking shoes are necessary as you’ll do lots of walking around. As well a torch if visiting Tikal in the afternoon if you don’t want to get lost in the dark. I surprise how dark it was when we go back outside around 4:30 pm.
There are no vendors around the ruins, but before starts roaming in the jungle, you’ll find plenty of vendors outside. There you can buy some drinks, snacks, and souvenirs.
Spending half-day in Tikal isn’t enough. There’s a large number of things to see. I suggest you expend one day; it should be an appropriate time to see the whole park. I regret we only spend in the afternoon, so this is definitely repeatedly.
Where To Stay In Flores
Although Flores is a small town, offer plenty of lodging for every budget. That’s why most travelers stay in Flores before pursuing to other places. The lakeside is very popular; possibly cost a little more if one wants a lake view. We stay at hotel Villa del Lago; it cost 53 euro a night.
A comfortable room with a private balcony and located in the historic town of Flores. They have a tour desk, but it is sensible to go next door if you want to save a few bucks. The next building is a travel office, and across the street is a restaurant. Also, the bus stops are just a short walk. So it is one of the best alternatives to stay in the in Flores.