A New Reason to Visit Guatemala's Tikal Ruins
Flores is usually regarded as just a stopping point on the road to Tikal, but the town’s charm is attracting more and more visitors for its own beauty and activities. Flores is located on a small island on Lake Petén It’za giving most restaurants and hotels a beautiful waterfront location and colorful sunset views.
The town recently added a boardwalk which will circle the island by mid-2008 (the first part is already finished) adding to the existing Caribbean vibe of the colorful houses and hot climate. There are plenty of activities for visitors aside from the obligatory trip to Tikal, like spelunking, swimming and hiking.
Only a fifteen minute walk from Flores (5 minutes in tuk-tuk) are the Actun Ca’an caves or Snake caves. Caves in Guatemala have a very spiritual meaning: according to the Mayan culture they are the entrance point to the underworld and it’s not rare to encounter real Mayan ceremonies taking place. The caves are open to the public form 8am to 5 pm and there is a Q.15 ($2) entrance fee which includes a guide.
El Mirador and Tayazal archeological site, 5 minutes by boat form Flores, might not be impressive after visiting Tikal but the walk through the lush vegetation, the small “playa” (beach) and view of Flores from the “mirador” are worth the hike.
For a less physical pastime try a one hour boat tour around the lake for about Q.80 ($11), especially beautiful around sunset! Or visit Flores’ central park where locals go to hang out and play basketball and do some shopping at the neighboring market place.