The island town of Flores is in the north of Guatemala at Lago de Petén Itzá. Flores is segregated from the town on the mainland called Santa Elena; but the whole area is simply referred to as Flores. I loved the town of Flores; its all surrounded by the lake which made it really relaxing. The area is full of nice small hotels, restaurants and has good rooftop terraces with great sunsets in the lake. Walk the boulevard (El Malecón) around the island so you don’t miss out on anything. You will have a great time here!
Flores is the perfect base to the most biggest highlight of Guatemala Tikal. I will write a separate blog on this amazing trip to this Maya Kingdom. In Flores you can book many different tours to Tikal.
Like written before, traveling in Guatemala is very easy. Tours offered at every corner and shuttles run almost every day to the main highlights. From Lanquín (Semuc Champey) it is a ±8 hours shuttle drive to Flores; including a lunch break and a river crossing. The bus dropped me off on the island of Flores just before sunset. Other transport on the island is mainly by foot or take a boat to the other parts around the lake Petén Itzá; see below the tips.
After Flores I’m heading to San Ignasio, Belize; Fuente del Norte la Pionera offers this service including border crossing Guatemala/Belize. I booked this transportation for 125Q at Getaway Travels (Calle Centro América, Flores).
Five must do’s in Flores
Flores has a lot to offer, of course number one is Tikal, but next to that you can spent a couple of days at this very chill town and explore the lake.
1. Private Beach Chechenal
I visited Chechenal beach the morning after my trip to Tikal, here you can chill and rest and jump or dive off the pier into the clear water. It was a Saturday and busy with local people enjoying the weekend. Take a colectivo boat (5Q) from the north side of Flores to San Miguel Village. Here you walk up to the football field and then turn left down to this beautiful private beach Chechenal (20 min); because it is a private beach you have to pay 10Q entrance fee. Boats will come to pick you up, the trip back cost 20Q to Flores. Great day to chill and enjoy the lake at its best; this beach girl loved this spot!
2. 2. Sunset Sup or Kayak
All around El Malecón (boulevard) you can rent Sup boards or Kayaks. This is a perfect activity to do at the end of the day during sunsets; great exercise and have dinner right after it. This way you can see Flores from the waterside.
3. 3. Jorge’s Rope swing
Jorge’s Rope Swing is the popular hot spot in Flores! I spent my last day in a hammock at the lakeside of this cool place. In the beginning I thought what is this, but had the best time here; swimming, jumping of ropes into the water and enjoying the amazing view from my hammock. You pay an entrance fee of 10Q to use all the facilities and a return boat trip cost 25Q. Perfect day!!
4. Sunset Drink
To get the real holiday feeling, drink a cocktail and watch the sunset on a rooftop bar. Luckily my Hotel Isla de Flores had a rooftop bar called: Terraza Mango’s Bar. Great vibe, great cocktails and great crowd, so get up the three stories enjoy the romantic setting with live music.
5. Church Viewpoint
The church is built at the highest point of the island at Parque Central; from here you have a great view and have a look at the white church. At night a lot of activity takes place around this Parque and you can get some food at the local food vendors. Perfect to blend in with the locals of Flores.
Restaurant tips in Flores
In Flores you have a couple of nice restaurants for all times of the day. I went twice to Maracuya so that will be my number one choice!
Maracuya: This is a vegetarian and biological restaurant. I love the vibe of this place and the food is very original, fresh and healthy. I had breakfast and dinner here and even brought a banana bread with me to take away on the bus ride for breakfast… Big fan!!
Terrazzo: Top pick in the Lonely Planet; wanted to check it out of course! I have to admit this is a fine Italian restaurant; I could barely choose a dish because I saw too many nice dishes on the menu. Eventually picked a pizza with shrimps, which was delicious and the fresh mint lemonade is very tasty.
Maple & Tocino: Western place where you can get your sugar shots! Fresh donut and a strawberry milkshake was cooling me down after my trip to the beach; enjoying the view.
Cool Beans or El Café Chilero: This is a popular laid-back breakfast spot at the sunrise side of the island. They serve traditional breakfasts but pancakes too and you will easily meet fellow travelers here. Ask for the Free Map with good local information about the area.
Restaurant San Telmo: On the sunset side of the island you will pass this hippie style restaurant San Telmo. They have seats upstairs for more view or down at the bar to watch the Malecón. I had the Indian Curry which was very good one disadvantage it was too small….. You have to order yourself inside, so service is different, but food was good!!
The vibe and the looks of this Hotel Isla de Flores is great, the price is too by the way. I stayed here two nights because it was fully booked; for a reason I must say!! Great rooftop bar with great cocktails, live music and great sunset view; the rooms are complete and luxurious. I then moved to Hotel Casa Amelia at the boulevard I was positively surprised, great rooms too and cheaper. Not as cheap as probably the Hostel Los Amigos which I heard was a great hostel to stay in Flores.