Flores is a tiny island located in Lake Peten in northern Guatemala, with a colourful and vibrant feel. Given the small size of the island, you’ll likely only be here for a few days, with a visit to Tikal planned. While Tikal was the main purpose of our visit to Northern Guatemala and Flores, we still found plenty of things to do here.
Flores is generally most travellers first or last stop in Guatemala. Depending on the direction you’re travelling, you’ve likely just crossed the Belizean border or will be heading in that direction. Due to the proximity to Tikal and the Belize border, Flores has become popular amongst travellers in Central America. While the island is small, there are still a few things to do while visiting.
How to Get to Flores, Guatemala
Getting to and from Flores is quite easy. We came across from Belize and were very quickly able to find a collectivo (shared van) for 30Q ($5.20 CAN) heading to Flores.
From the border, it took us about 2 hours to reach the final stop before Flores. As traffic can be challenging in Flores, the collectivo drops you off a short distance before the entrance of the island. From here, you will be greeted by plenty of tuk-tuks waiting to take you the remainder of the way for 10Q ($1.75 CAN).
Alternatively, if you’re coming from the south, your journey will be much longer. Plan to be on the bus or van all day. Tickets to Flores are plentiful in all other popular destinations such as Lanquin, Antigua and Lake Atitlan.
things to do in Flores, Guatemala
Day Trip to Tikal
If you’re visiting Flores, a day trip to Tikal is likely the main reason for your stay. Being about an hour away, Flores makes a great jumping point to visit the ruins if you’re not staying on site.
For those not familiar with Tikal, they are Mayan ruins, and are some of the most impressive in Central America.
In Flores, you’ll find many options to get to Tikal. You can join either a morning or afternoon tour, grab a van headed that direction or hire a private guide to take you. Once you reach Tikal, you’ll be required to pay an entrance fee of 150Q ($26 CAN). If you’re staying to watch the sunset, you’ll need to pay an additional 100Q ($17.50 CAN) for a sunset ticket. After paying your fees, you will be free to explore the amazing grounds!
Boat Ride Around the Lake Peten
If you have an extra day in Flores, a boat ride across the lake will take you to a lovely Mirador (look-out) of the island, a beach or a rope swing.
Mirador Del Ray Canek
For 20Q ($3.50 CAN) a boat taxi will drop you off near a the trail leading to the Mirador. The trail will take you under 10 minutes to reach the top, where you are greeted by a rickety viewing tower. From the top of the tower, you will be able to get a nice view of Flores.
From the Mirador, you can take a trail through the jungle leading you to Playa Chechenal. This journey is about a 15 minute walk and on arrival you will be required to pay 5Q ($0.85 CAN). This Playa isn’t a typical beach with sand, but is a great swimming location. You’ll find plenty of shade and places to relax alongside the water. You’ll also spot a number of vendors selling food and drinks on the weekend. When you’re finished, taxi boats will be waiting to take you back to the main land for 25Q ($4.30 CAN).
Joerge’s Rope Swing
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can take a boat to the opposite side of the lake and play on the rope swing. We didn’t head to the rope swing, so I can’t give you much information on it, but others seemed to enjoy it.
Watch the Sunset
As Flores is a teeny tiny island, its inevitable that you’ll be watching the sunset from wherever you are. Watching the sunset from a break wall or from a roof top gives you some great views of the changing sky.
Given the size of the island, you’ll probably walk around the island multiple times during your stay. With brightly coloured buildings and views of the water from just about everywhere, its easy to become enthralled. Take some time and wander around the streets and take in everything Flores has to offer.
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