The border crossing from Belize went super smoothly withouth waiting. We heard some people standing in the queue for ages. On the borderwe met a friendly taxi guy who promised to bring us all the way to Flores.
Flores is the closest city for visiting the ruins of Tikal so we decided to explore it for few days. The old town is located on a little island while the new parts are build around the lake.
Things to do in Flores
While most people come here mainly to visit Tikal there are thing to do in the city:
From the side of the island locals pick you up with a boat and bring you to the other side of the lake. Here you can find a cool spot for sunset and a rope swing for swimming jumps.
Hike on the hills. From the city you can start a tour to explore local villages around the lake.
Cruises on the lake. We saw a party boat doing a trip on the lake if this is something you are interested in.
Enjoy food and drinks. There are tons of cute restaurants and bars in the old town to enjoy. The pictures from below are from a vegetarian restaurant called Maracuya.
+ Where to stay:
We only stayed in Los Amigos hostel that was really cool! They have a huge garden and the food here is so good. And we might have gone through tons of cocktails too 😀 On the minus side the wifi was terrible most of the time but this didn’t bother us.
Only possible to book by getting in touch with the hostel directly but a really popular option in Flores.
Visiting Tikal ruins in Guatemala
As I said before the main reason for travellers to come to Flores is visiting Tikal. Tikal is an ancient maya city and an UNESCO World Heritage site that attracs thousand of visitors every year.
Tikal was one of the main cities in the Mayan culture and it’s been estimated that it was first built in 300 bc. The archiologist have made several reseaches here and discovered that up to 100 000 people or more lived here in the best days of the city.
Getting around Tikal
It’s possible to explore Tikal on an organised tour or independently. We chose a tour from our hostel mainly because this includes tranport from the city to Tikal and back and it was nice to have a guide telling us more about the site.
Before entering we bought tickets from the gate for 150 GTQ (about $20). All the detailed information about the park can be found here on their website.
The park is very big so prepare with good shoes and water because you’ll be walking a lot. It was raining the first half of the day so it was so good we packed rain jackets. There are also vendors selling some before entering the park.
Exploring Tikal temples
There are multiple temples at the site and highest ones reach around 30 meters. Some of the temples have been restored and the reseachers have even entered some of them!
What I really liked about Tikal is that you can climb on top of some of the temples. Stairs bring you up Temple II and Temple IV (the Star Wars temple!) as well as the observatory little further in the jungle. Once you arrive on top it gives you a different perspective about the site and feeling of history.