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How to Spend 3 Days in Flores

How to Spend 3 Days in Flores

The lovely little island of Flores, ensconced in pristine Lake Petén, has been the heart, and capital, of Mesoamerica’s archaeologically richest region for thousands of years. Ehile you are probably here in this lush and quiet corner of the world to see the ancient Mayan city of Tikal, you’ll find much more hidden throughout the protected swath of tropical rainforest its builders once called home. Three days may not be quite enough.

If you’re arriving to Flores on one of the overnight bus from Guatemala City, rather than the plane, you may want to take it easy your first day on the island. Consider shifting around this itinerary and spending your first day and exploring the city and lake (Day 2) instead.

Day 1: Touring Tikal You are probably here to see the ruins of Tikal, and you will not be disappointed. The magnificent Mayan city is an engineering marvel, its ancient temple pyramids and covered walkways through the jungle still evocative of a civilization more advanced than almost any in the world during its heyday, about 300 to 900AD.

Plan an entire day to explore the fantastic UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you don’t book a tour from Flores, 65km (40 miles) to the south, you can hire one of the freelance guides milling around the entrance. As this is one of the best preserved, best-documented of all Mayan cities, an expert will put this most memorable of experiences into illuminating historical context.

Adventurous travelers may want to visit the nearby city of Uaxactún, a much more ancient astronomical center where Tikal’s elites once went to learn writing, timekeeping, and other mysteries of the Mayan world. Independent travelers should plan on spending three days to see both ruins (public transportation is tricky), or book a tour to save time.

Day 2: Flores and Lake Petén The lake island of Flores, in Lake Petén Itza, is much more than a comfortable base for exploring the ruins and natural attractions of the Petén. This scenic spot was the Itza Maya capital, known as Nojpetén (City Island), and the hub of Guatamala’s Mayan civilization for centuries. Ancient roads into the vast rainforests radiate out from the lake, marked by tiny towns that still welcome visitors.

Sure, you can walk around the small city of Flores in about 20 minutes, but stop on the north shore’s malecón and jump off one of the brightly colored docks into the lake for a refreshing swim. Hire a cayuco (small motorized boat) to Petencito Zoo or El Museo, both located on even smaller islands just offshore. Head across the causeway to Santa Elena to shop for less expensive handicrafts and souvenirs at the bustling market. Or, book a hike, zip-line tour, or other activity at awesome Ixpanpajul Nature Park, just 15 minutes away.

More ambitious adventurers could hire a cayuco (or catch a bus from Santa Elena) to other lakeside towns like El Remate, San José, and San Miguel, each with hotels, restaurants, Spanish schools, and attractions like caves, small ruins, and hiking destinations, including Cerro Cahuí Nature Reserve.

Day 3: Off the Beaten Track While Tikal is one of the Mayan world’s most famous ruins for a reason, there are several, smaller cities hidden away in the rainforest. Most are difficult to reach on a day trip for independent travelers using public transportation, but you can book tours from Flores that can get you back to the Santa Elena airport in time for the 5pm plane back to Guatemala City.

Most convenient for travelers on a schedule is Yaxhá, Guatemala’s third-largest archaeological site, about 100km (62 miles) from Flores. Located atop a photogenic limestone ridge with views over Lake Yaxhá, its relative isolation offers a taste of what early adventurers and archaeologists must have enjoyed a century ago in the untouched Petén.

If you have two days, the ruins around Petexbatún Wildlife Refuge, including Aguateca and El Ceibal, are another popular option for travelers who want to escape the crowds at Tikal. Different operators offer tours to other, smaller ruins close to Flores, including some of the 27 cities surrounding Lake Petén.

Ask in advance if they will store your bags and drop you off at the airport after the tour; it’s a great way to make the most of your last moments in this remarkable region.

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5 Tours and Activities | All Flores Tours

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Tikal Day Tour with Lunch from Flores

Tikal Day Tour with Lunch from Flores

star-4.5
See one of Guatemala’s most incredible archeological sites and climb through ancient ruins at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tikal National Park (Parque Nacional Tikal). Your expert guide will lead you on a tour through the jungle—and through history, and share stories about old world cultures and traditions that date back all the way to the Mayans. This full-day tour from the city of Flores, Santa Elena Peten or Mundo Maya International Airport includes an up-close look at the temples and plazas of Tikal, a traditional Guatemalan lunch and roundtrip transportation to your hotel or airport.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$70.00
From
$70.00
Taking safety measures

2-Day Mayan Ruins Tour of Tikal and Yaxha from Flores

2-Day Mayan Ruins Tour of Tikal and Yaxha from Flores

star-5
Unravel the mysteries of the ancient Mayas on a 2-day journey from Flores, including 5-star overnight accommodation and some meals. Venture into the UNESCO-listed Tikal National Park for a half-day guided tour of the park’s Mayan ruins, including the fascinating Central Acropolis, the Temple of the Grand Jaguar and the memorable Temple of the Masks. Then, explore the pre-Columbian ruins of Yaxha, where the ballcourts, temples and plazas boast a dramatic location, hidden in the jungle above the Yaxha Lake.
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  • 2 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$301.71
Price varies by group size
From
$301.71
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Yaxha Day Tour from Flores

Yaxha Day Tour from Flores

Explore one of the largest Mayan complexes in northern Guatemala on this Yaxha day tour from Flores. Your friendly local guide will lead you through the impressive landmarks of this historicl site, and take you up close to ancient temples, pyramids and old world ruins. Learn about pre-Columbian Mayan culture as you take in the beauty of this popular destination that overlooks the Sacnab and Yaxha lakes. Your day-trip includes a savory traditional Guatemalan lunch and round-trip transportation from your hotel in Flores or Santa Elena Peten, or pick up and drop off from Mundo Maya International Airport. This small group experience is capped at 20 people to insure personalized attention.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$99.99
From
$99.99
Taking safety measures

Ceibal Day Tour from Flores

Ceibal Day Tour from Flores

Journey back to ancient times on this full-day tour of Ceibal from Flores and discover the remains of one of Guatemala’s most important Mayan cities. Enjoy a scenic cruise along the Passion River and hike through the rainforest to reach the fascinating archeological site that dates back as early as 300 BC. After taking in the highlights of UNESCO-listed Ceibal, tuck into a packed lunch (included) before being dropped back at your Flores or Santa Elena Peten hotel.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$99.99
From
$99.99
Taking safety measures

Uaxactun Day Tour from Flores

Uaxactun Day Tour from Flores

Uncover the secrets of one of the world’s oldest civilisations on this 6-hour tour of Uaxactun, a Mayan city inhabited from 300BC. Follow your guide around the fascinating archeological site, marvel over remarkably preserved Mayan ceramics in the onsite museum and learn about Uaxactun’s significance as the birthplace of the Mayan astronomical calendar. This day trip from Flores includes round-trip hotel or airport transfers and lunch.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$79.99
From
$79.99
Taking safety measures