Flores is a small island in Lake Petén Itzá and connected to the mainland by a long bridge. Not only Flores and its surroundings are worth traveling to, considering the environment and the various activities available there. The large and partially invisible Mayan city of Tikal is also definitely worth a visit.
For a visit to Tikal, most people stay in Flores. In the small town, you can walk from one end to the other in 20 minutes, with the center high up in the middle. The houses have cheerful colors and you will find some nice and cozy ho(s)tels and restaurants.
In addition to the islet, you can use small boats to cross to the other side of the lake, to San Miguel. For these lanchas, you pay about Q10/€1.25 per person per trip. Here you will find a hiking trail to the viewpoint ‘Mirador de Canek’ and you will walk up through forests during the hike. Maps.me allows you to keep an eye on the hiking trails, because sometimes it’s not well marked and you have to go through sections that you don’t think are trails. Once at the top, you have a cool view of Flores.
If you walk down the other side of the mirador, a section with stairs, you can walk to the beach ‘Playa Chechenal Petén’. You pay Q5/€0.75 per person and there are changing booths and a small bar.
You can also have a lancha drop you off at Jorge’s rope Swing. This is a bit further away and is a bit more expensive (Q40/€4.50), but you can negotiate that. Jorge’s Rope Swing is a relaxing place to spend your afternoon swimming and having a drink. Open from 9am – 7pm and you pay Q25/€3 entrance fee and there is a bar for your drinks.
Tikal, formerly called “Yax Mutal,” is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The city, built in the 4th century, was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the times of the Mayas. After the demise of both the city and the Maya people, nothing more was heard of Tikal. It was not until 1696 that the Spaniard Andrés Avendaño described a ruin that may have been Tikal. From 1850 onwards, guided expeditions were carried out under the guidance of the locals who had not forgotten the city. Since then, more and more has been discovered in and around the city. However, much is still in the dark, where it is expected that only 20% of the entire city is now known and public. Studies are still being conducted every day. And that’s what makes the city so special. Not only the history but also the surroundings are beautiful. You will visit the city which is in the middle of the rainforest and so you will have many chances to see animals: birds, nose bears, monkeys and different kinds of insects.
A guide in Tikal is recommended. Especially in this large Mayan city, where much is still unexplored, a guide can tell you a lot about the history and surroundings. You can go there by private or public transportation, but the city is far from Flores, about 1.5 hours away, so an organized trip may be worth it. A tour, including transport and transportation can be arranged from Flores and costs about Q170/€22, excluding entrance to Tikal. Going by own transportation but want a guide? There are often several guides at the entrance who are happy to go with you. A price can be negotiated.
The national park is open from 6:00 am – 5:00 pm. The entrance to Tikal costs Q150/€19 for a sunrise or sunset entrance you pay Q100/€12.50 more. Bring your passport and keep in mind that you can only pay in cash. Tickets are purchased at the entrance to the park and cannot be purchased online, they can be purchased at the Banrural bank but this does not always go smoothly. If you buy a ticket after 3 p.m. you can use it the next day. There are a number of lodges near the entrance if you want to stay overnight at the park. There are also 2 museums on site. These cost Q30/€3.75 and are not included in the tickets.