A June 2005 trip
to Flores by coloradowanderer
Quote: The prime reason most visit Flores is the close proximity to the Mayan site Tikal. There is not much to keep you here, but there are plenty of hotels and restaurants for every budget.
Prices here are extremely affordable for budget travelers. Both hostels cost 25Q. Even lake-side hotels with all the amenities are a deal at -50. Restaurants are reasonably priced but beware the food can be less than spectacular with pasta as the staple of budget joints.
In Guatemala you will not find a wide selection of products. I heard this several times from folks that had stayed for months. Ladies in particular, bring what you need if you have preferences. After searching several stores and gesturing because this is beyond my Spanish vocabulary, I bought a small can of man's shaving cream that was more expensive than my bed in the hostel. Traveling in the rainy season demands proper gear, shoes and do not forget the mosquito repellent.
Many tour operators can arrange for transportation to your next destination. If you are crossing into Mexico, I highly advise going in a van rather than trying to navigate it on your own. Once you reach the river there is no guarantee that a boat will be crossing and the price is higher if you do not go through an agent.
This a great choice for families or couples wanting a romantic evening setting. The staff was pleasant and helpful exchanging money and providing luggage storage after check out.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 27, 2005
La Casona de la Isla
Calle 30 de Junio
Hotel | "Hospedaja Dona Goya"
During my stay, only four others occupied the room. I was provided with fresh crisp sheets and slept very well with the fans going until the roosters started crowing at dawn. For less than $4, this hostel is great for sleeping but there is not much of a traveler's scene here as compared to the other hostel in town. I believe they do open a rooftop bar during busier times. After staying at both, I suggest sleeping here and going to the other hostel for meals, information and meeting other travelers.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 27, 2005
Hospedaje Dona Goya
Calle la Union
Hotel | "Los Amigos"
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on August 27, 2005
Youth Hostel Los Amigos
Isla de Flores, Petén
Restaurant Le Villa del Chef
Calle 30 de Junio
Attraction | "Mayan Site"
At that hour of the muggy morning, I descended into the jungle alone, listening to the birds squawk and waiting for the howls from the monkeys. The first time I heard the roar from a full-grown male, I about jumped out of my skin from the primal and guttural sound. Head back and eyes to the tall trees, I witnessed several howling matches, monkeys crashing down branches, and fruit being cracked open, then the shell hurled at gawking tourists. This was my first time seeing monkeys outside of a zoo, so I too was in awe. Other wildlife highlights include a colorful wild turkey and a toucan.
This is an impressive Mayan site in the size of the temples and steep steps. To see the view in the photo below, I climbed over 200 wooden steps to reach the top of the temple. There were several that were so steep that I would not attempt climbing them after seeing people come down.
Bring your guidebook or join a guided tour to learn the history, or for budget travelers, eavesdrop on them. There are no signs explaining any of the ruins. Be prepared for lots of walking, and bring water and bug repellent. Chips, soda in glass bottles, and water vending begins throughout the park around 8am. There are several small restaurants located outside the official entrance, which are possible to walk to and return to the park. People in town act like you will starve to death if you do not buy a box lunch from them to take with you. I arrived around 6am, went for breakfast around 11am, and then returned to explore the site until 2pm. I didn't see everything, but it was a plenty of time. Transportation in the air-conditioned van was $80, and the van will stop at El Remate or anyplace along the road if you are staying outside of Flores.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 27, 2005
Tikal National Park