Flores is a bit of a weird town. There doesn’t seem to be a lot to do in the town itself, we used it primarily as the staging point for our exploration of the ruins at Tikal. The island of Flores is connected to mainland Peten by a good old fashioned one way in – one way out bridge that is accessible by foot / bike / car. The island boasts some lovely pubs, restaurants and ho(s)tels, and a pretty healthy nightlife. The prices are slightly higher here as it’s a known tourist spot.
You will need to sort yourself out with cash prior to your arrival, as nowhere seems to take credit/debit card ( a trend that will continue right through Central America ) and there are only 2 atms in town…. and they don’t always work.
It’s a cool little old school village to spend a couple of days in while you take in the sights of the surrounding attractions but other than that I wouldn’t be rushing back to stay, Katie on the other hand really liked it. So don’t take my word, go there and make up your own mind.
From Palenque to Flores:
If you’ve just started following us or just stumbled in, we crossed into Guatemala from Mexico with a tour company, however there are numerous options depending on where you’re coming from most of which either start in or go through Guatemala City.
In the meantime, you can read all about our adventures crossing the border by bus and boat, from Palenque in Mexico to Flores HERE.
Accommodation in Flores:
We stayed at the Hotel Mirador del Lago. Nice, basic, cheap. Exactly what you want from a budget backpackers hostel. A private room cost us 150 Quetzals (€18).
Also available were dorm beds @ 50 quetzal (€6) twins @ 150 quetzal and triples with private bath @ 200 quetzal (€24).
The hostel was actually quite cheap on the tour front. We did a bit of shopping around and they were one of the cheapest. Also, they give you a free hour with the canoes on the lake when you stay with them.
The hostel was clean, quiet and did exactly what it said on the tin. It is worth noting that although the night porter is usually pissed out of his mind (you’ll know him he’s got no teeth), he’s actually harmless just a bit annoying and kinda funny, but in saying that any money/ official dealings are best done with Brenda during the day.
Things To Do in Flores:
Have yourself a ramble around the, winding narrow, hilly streets of Flores. It takes no time to get around. It’s a beautiful picturesque tiny little town and it’s fun to get lost in. Walk along the seafront for some good grub and beautiful sunsets. We love sunsets.
The UNESCO site was by far the highlight, if not the main reason for our trip to Flores. We booked a tour through our hotel. It cost us a whopping 90 quetzal (€10) each. It would have been 70 Quetzales (€8.50) without a guide but trust me when I say you’ll be glad of the guide. There’s a lot to see and with a guide you’ll be shown all the important buildings and points of interest as well as some pretty interesting info on the local people, flora and fauna. Just bare in mind there is a separate 150 Quetzal (€18) entry fee to the park itself (Totally worth it). This has nothing to do with your tour it’s a government levy, and I hear you, why don’t the guides just charge the full price? It’s because of the fact that its a government charge and the agencies/guides are not authorised to take the money from you.
Our guide Lloyd, picked us up at 8am (there’s a sunrise tour but you have to leave at about 2am and it’s more expensive). Lloyd was a charming, entertaining, passionate and knowledgeable Guatemalan man. He spent the morning with us from our arrival at the park at 10am until about 12pm, where he answered all our questions, doled out numerous amazing facts about this amazing city and it’s inhabitants, both human and otherwise.
He explained that the city its of is so old they’re not sure of its real name, the city was discovered and inhabited by the Mayans around 200 BC, and the city flourished for abou 900 years before the Mayans use all the natural resources and abandoned the city. They don’t know much about it before then. They city had a sewage system and aqueducts as well as astrologically accurate building placement When the Mayans found it. Come on guys…. I cannot be the only one thinking it. ALIENS.
Lloyd also pointed out the howler and spider monkeys, as well as pizote (weird raccoon monkey cat ant-eater thingy) before bringing us to the temple I had been waiting my whole life to see. Yes fellow nerds, that’s right, Tikal is better known (although this is a tragedy) as the set of Yarvin 4. The location of the rebel base from Star Wars episode 3.
So in essence, go to Tikal if you want to see, a scene from star wars, monkeys, a city of dubious possibly alien origin, amazing tour guides and views.
Kayak On The Lake:
As mentioned above if you stay in the Mirador del Lago they’ll give you an hour on the kayaks for free or you can rent them in various places along the water, and if you get a nice clear day you can just float about and take it all in, so go ahead and get your Pocahontas on and paint with all the colours of the wind.
Los Amigos Hostel:
Just an honorable mention. We didn’t stay in this hostel, but we did go there to eat and have a drink, twice. Such a cool place, amazing vibe good food and quite reasonable (the food anyway, I’m not sure how much the rooms were) we got a bowl of chicken nachos that fed the two of us for the night, which is no mean feat, we love our grub! They’ve bean bags everywhere and a couple of pool tables. BONUS.
So even though I wasn’t mad on the place I did enjoy the few days I spent there and would definitely recommend it if ancient ruins and good views TIKAL your fancy… sorry, couldn’t help it!
As always, if you need anymore info, feel free to get in touch and we’ll get you sorted. Peace out.
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