Flores, Guatemala is the city nearest to Tikal and there are many wonders to discover. Read all about the best things to do and see in Flores.
I arrived in Flores, Guatemala late at night after crossing the Belize border (one of the easiest border crossings ever!) and hopping on a chicken van that takes about two to three hours depending on how many times it breaks down in the middle of the road.
As soon as I boarded a Tuk-Tuk to reach the island of Flores from the nearby town of Santa Elena I was surprised by the pitch-black darkness that surrounded the place.
Turns out there was a strong wind that knocked down the power cable at the bridge so I had to walk all the way to the dock of Flores in order to take a boat to my hostel, located in San Miguel, a piece of land directly across from Flores.
The pitch-black boat ride with only one candlelight to lead the way remains one of my favorite experiences of my Central American journey!
The Island of Flores, Heartland of the Peten Region
The morning after the blackout, the first ray of sun hit the island of Flores and that’s when I knew it: Guatemala is definitely one of the most beautiful and overlooked places in all of the world!
Sure, most visitors will only spend a few hours exploring Flores since they will only use it as their base to visit the nearby Mayan ruins of Tikal but hey, it’s their loss.
Last week I spent one complete day discovering the hidden beauty of this small lovely town. Here are a few of the main attractions I found.
The 7 Best Things to Do and See in Flores, Guatemala #01: Relax at the Peten Itza Lake
Flores is one of the most peaceful touristy towns since most visitors are absent during the day so you can take advantage of that to enjoy unrivaled views of the Peten Itza Lake (if the name sounds familiar to Chichen Itza it’s no coincidence, it’s a Mayan name).
My favorite spot is this place located on the Santa Elena-Flores bridge. I definitely love the effect of the sunken wooden bridges and the reflection of the water.
The 7 Best Things to Do and See in Flores, Guatemala #02: Visit the Mundo Maya International Mall
Yes, I know what you’re thinking “A shopping mall, really?”. This mall located just after the Santa Elena-Flores bridge is actually home to some amazing replicas of the Mayan statues that can be found in Copan.
If you cannot make it there, at least you can enjoy these impressive monoliths located outside the mall!
The 7 Best Things to Do and See in Flores, Guatemala #03: Take a Boat to San Miguel and back
For the small price of 5 quetzals (less than 1 USD!), you can take a shared boat to San Miguel, where you can go to any nearby hill to get a panoramic view of Flores.
My favorite part, however, is the boat ride back to Flores. Seeing this wonderful city from the middle of the lake is a breathtaking experience!
The 7 Best Things to Do and See in Flores, Guatemala #04: Visit the Mayan Ruins of Tikal
From Flores, a one-day trip to Tikal is extremely easy to arrange. You can go either by local bus or by tourist van. Prices are not that different but you’ll definitely save a lot of time by taking the tourist van.
My best advice for ways to go from Flores to Tikal is to book a shuttle with Guatego in order to book it in advance and choose your preferred time.
Trust me when I say that waking up at 3 am to take the first shuttle in order to see the sunrise at Tikal is one of the most magical experiences ever.
The 7 Best Things to Do and See in Flores, Guatemala #05: Enjoy Local Life at the Main Square
Did you know you can eat and drink like a king for only 20 quetzals (3 USD)? The street food vendors and the small restaurants in the main plaza of Flores (just follow the white church and you’ll be there in seconds) are where the locals eat and drink so everything is super cheap.
I remember I had lunch at a small restaurant called El Mirador. Watching the Guatemalans go crazy due to the Champion’s League was a very good local experience!
They sure scream louder than the howler monkeys!
The 7 Best Things to Do and See in Flores, Guatemala #06: Go Bird-Watching at the Lake
Sure, you won’t find any exotic birds here in Flores (for that you have to go to Tikal) but you can certainly find many interesting photo opportunities thanks to the sunken wooden bridges and the amazing reflections at the lake.
Even a boring bird can create a very unique photo!
The 7 Best Things to Do and See in Flores, Guatemala #07: Explore Flores by Night
If you’re lucky, you will see some unique water reflection effects thanks to rain and floods. Yes, I know that sounds awful but floods sure bring out some of the best photo opportunities. Take this one for example!
Magical, isn’t it?
How Many Days Should You Spend in Flores?
That is entirely up to you. My personal recommendation would be to spend two nights and two days. On day one I explored Flores itself while on day two I went to Tikal before boarding the night bus all the way to Antigua, Guatemala.
I know most people only spend one night and one day here since it IS a very small town (you can walk from one end to the other in 10 minutes) but trust me, you’ll end up loving it!
I hope you have enjoyed this article about the Best Things to Do and See in Flores. Don’t forget to subscribe in order to get more awesome updates and tips straight to your e-mail!
Have you ever been to Flores? Would you like to? What were some of your favorite things to do and see in Flores? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!
Until next time, my friends!