Dec 2010). The bus leaves from Santa Elena. Contrary to previous reports, this bus does not go to Flores. A taxi to the bus terminal in Santa Elena should cost you no more than Q35. Very comfortable seating and excellent service. Don't bother with San Juan Express, its just a tourist trap. All the locals use Altobuses del Norte or any of the other bus companies leaving from the Santa Elena bus terminal.
this park is a major attraction in Guatemala, and is located 60 km from Flores. Open: 6AM-6PM (after 3PM arrivals gain free re-entry the following day). Admission: Q150. To avoid crowds and experience the rich wild-life at its best try to arrive around 6-7AM.
A small village located 30 km from Flores with a nice, calm and rural atmosphere, and normally less crowded than other places in the area, making it a nice alternative base for those exploring Tikal and the region. All minibuses from St. Elena to Tikal (US$1) stop here. However, some large buses ($0.30) only stop at a crossing 7 km from El Remate, so ask first. Taxis are available for US$20 from the airport/Flores.
village in Guatemala
country in Central America
Flores is the base for tours to the site of the largest Mayan temples, El Tigre and La Danta. This archaeological site deep in the rain forest near the Mexican border is of huge significance and can only be reached by foot and mule train - a five day round trip trek. Expect to pay US$150-500 (shop around) for the entire package including guide, food, mules and transport to Carmelita, the starting point. An extra day allows further travel along much of an ancient raised causeway to the ruins at Nakbé, which is around 3.5 hours away and 5 km closer to Carmelita. Any agency in Flores or Santa Elena can arrange tours to these places.
the last stop past Bethel. It takes approximately four hours. The last couple are on an unpaved but beautiful road - just be glad you're in the bus and not in a minivan! They'll stop at the immigration checkpoint for you, and this is the last time you can change your Quetzals into Pesos. Note that there is no exit fee for Guatemala.
one of the two principal islands of San Andrés and Providencia
For many, the main reason to visit Flores is its proximity to Tikal, the most famous Mayan ruins in Guatemala, or as a starting point for trips around Petén. But the city itself is a wonder — dense with colonial, red-roofed buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, a historic church and Spanish plaza, and restaurants that are easy to stumble upon walking the city's charming streets. Most will find that this island city is more than just a take-off point, but a memorable attraction in itself.
Flores is a quiet and peaceful place, and probably one of the safest places in the sometimes wild north. Santa Elena and San Benito require a little more caution, but offer a more authentic experience of a Guatemalan town, complete with traffic, litter and street food.
- Guatemala City
- Autobuses del Norte(ADN),Terminal de Buses Santa Elena ☎ , Has departures from Flores at 10PM (Q200 - Dec 2010). The bus leaves from Santa Elena. Contrary to previous reports, this bus does not go to Flores. A taxi to the bus terminal in Santa Elena should cost you no more than Q35. Very comfortable seating and excellent service. Don't bother with San Juan Express, its just a tourist trap. All the locals use Altobuses del Norte or any of the other bus companies leaving from the Santa Elena bus terminal.
- Linea Dorada ☎ Has three departures from Flores, at 9PM (Q190), 10AM and 9:30PM (Q150). This buses also pick up the passengers in Flores, in the same place as ADN.
- Motul de San José - a largish Mayan site just north of San José. Buses, minivans, and tuk-tuks operate to the site. The ruin has a few stelae with visible glyphs and a number of large overgrown pyramids.
- Ixlú is a small Mayan site near the Melchor de Mencos junction on the way to Tikal. It is only of interest to the die-hard fans of Mayan sites. There are a number of overgrown mounds, and a few badly damaged monuments. The best preserved monuments have been moved to Flores central park.
- El Peru, AKA Waká, AKA the formerly elusive Site Q, can be seen on a three day trip from Flores.
- Holtún is a small archaeological site 60 km from Flores on the way to Melchor de Mencos and the Belizean border. A broad, but unmarked path leads to the site. Locals can give directions. The site contains tree and vegetation covered temples. Painted masks adorn the inside of one of the temples, but this part is off limits to tourists (unless you can get a permit from the guard in charge). The part open to tourists also has masks, but these are not as impressive.
- Uaxactún an archaeological site beyond Tikal, with some interesting ruins. Take the bus from Santa Elena bus terminal, which passes through Tikal. Insist that you are not visiting Tikal and the Tikal Park guards may not charge you the full Tikal entrance fee just to go through. Uaxactún is a small jungle hamlet laid out around a former airstrip. There is a single hotel but take your own mosquito net. The food in the hotel restaurant is terrible, you may be able to persuade one of the local women to prepare you fresh chicken, rice, and tortillas. Best to spend two nights, with one full day to explore the ruins, with groups on both sides of the airstrip.
- Yaxhá is an archaeological site 73 km from Flores on the way to Melchor de Mencos and the Belizean border. 62 km from Flores, just after Holtún, turn off on to the dirt road to Yaxhá (11 km). The site is not as popular as Tikal, but is well worth the trip. In addition, you may find that you are the only visitor, which offers a very different kind of experience from that of wading through the crowds at Tikal. There is ongoing restoration work at the site.
As of February 2007, for foreigners there is an entrance fee. Q80 per person. This fee covers Yaxha, Naranjo, and Nakum. The sites are very far apart and without a vehicle, impossible to do in one day.
- Topoxté is a small site on an island on the west shore of Lago de Yaxhá. It can be reached by lancha (boat), costing around Q100 for the 15-minute journey.
- Nakum is an impressive site some 20 km north of Yaxhá. From here it is a one day walk to Tikal, but you will need a guide. This site is undergoing extensive reconstruction and has an acropolis that is larger than that of Tikal. You can get there in the dry season with a 4-wheel drive vehicle. To get here, you will need to pay the entry fee at Yaxha.
- El Parque Natural Ixpanpajul - a 5 minutes drive from Flores (US$5 by taxi), which has a canopy tour, a walking loop with suspension bridges and, in addition, offers horse riding and camping facilities.
- Palenque in Mexico. Various travel agencies offer packages to Palenque in Guatemala or varying standards. You can choose to do it independently though, as follows:
- Take the 5AM Pinata bus from the Santa Elena bus terminal to La Técnica - the last stop past Bethel. It takes approximately four hours. The last couple are on an unpaved but beautiful road - just be glad you're in the bus and not in a minivan! They'll stop at the immigration checkpoint for you, and this is the last time you can change your Quetzals into Pesos. Note that there is no exit fee for Guatemala.
- There's then a five minute boat journey across the river to Frontera Corozal. It should cost Q15 (Locals) but you'll end up paying Q20!
- There will then be comfortable combi vans waiting on the far bank to take you to Palenque. You can leave your bags in the combi and go on to immigration. It's up the bank, follow the road around to the right then straight on for about 100 metres and immigration is on your left.
- Neighboring towns - Don't forget that aside from Flores and Tikal, there is more to see and do around Lake Peten Itza, particularly the locals in some quaint neighboring towns. On the north shore of the lake, just across from Flores are San Andrés and San José. These two lovely little towns boast a similar architecture to that of Flores but set on the side of very steep terrain, which makes for quite a dramatic street stroll with beautiful views of the lake. The people of both towns are very lovely, polite and helpful. Why not come across and have a chat with the locals to practice your Spanish? And if this is out of your lingual reach, you could take intenstive Spanish classes in either town along with culturally enriching home-stays. To get there, just head to the bus terminal in Santa Elena (10 minutes on foot) and wait for one of the very frequent local buses (colectivos). Local buses to and from run between 6AM and 5PM, ask at the station for which one to take.