Blogs from Petén Region, Guatemala, Central America Caribbean


Wed 14 November - Day 19 to 19 - Flores We waved goodbye to Belize after leaving at 7.00am (with our breakfast box) then crossed into Guatemala to the charming island-town of Flores. This journey was in a private minibus. When departing Belize we paid a small fee of $40.00BZD (5.5BZD to $1AUD), pad our passports stamped then walked to the entrance of Guatemala, filling out their form to get an entry stamp. It was seamless process although some of our group lined up to get the form then lined up to submit the form. I thought that was ridiculously inefficient so went up to the counter past the long line of people to get several forms, which they gave me. Before getting to the border, I couldn’t find my passport in my small backpack, so ... read more
Tikal National Park Guatemala - Temple 2 (2)
Tikal National Park Guatemala - tucan (2)
Lunch stop on way to Flores Guatemala - El Muelle (2)

So I was wrong about Belize - that's tomorrow.Today we were in Tikal - a major Mayan site only partially excavated and dating from about 800 BC. Many sites over a large area - we walked about 8km and climbed several monuments. Fabulous views from the top with the ruins emerging from the green sea of the tropical rain forrest.The day ended at lovely lake side hotel with a fab sunset.... read more
Super sunset tonight
Tallest temple at Tikal
Really steep steps up to everything

Flores is our last stop in Guatemala and we hope that we have left the best to last as this is our base for visiting the Mayan city of Tikal. As with many of these ancient sights it has become popular to go for sunrise, but here, that’s only really feasible during the winter months. They also charge a whopping 100Q extra for the privilege on top of an already significant 150Q entrance fee. I’m happy to have escaped from Antigua and though we pass through the outskirts, to have avoided Guatemala City altogether. We have a long day on a bus to reach Flores and arrive just after dark but this still gives us time to book a shuttle to take us to Tikal the next day leaving at 8am and returning at 3pm. Flores ... read more

Ich bin am Montag Abend, den 19. März, nach einer sehr langen Busfahrt in Flores angekommen. Ich bin mit einem Bus von Chetumal aus dorthin gefahren und war mit 3 anderen Leuten unterwegs, die ich im Hostel kennengelernt hatte : Laurenz aus Berlin und Anja und Skander (ein Paar) aus Bern. Laurenz hatte ich in der Bank kennengelernt, wo ich für ihn Geld getauscht hatte, da er seinen Pass nicht dabei hatte. Komischerweise verlangten sie dort den Reisepass, aber der Wechselkurs war gut, also was solls. Wie ich kurz vorher war auch Laurenz ohne Pass dorthin gegangen, aber da ich es schon hinter mir hatte zurück zum Hostel zu gehen, wollte ich ihm das ersparen und habe sein Geld mit umgetauscht. Die Busfahrt nach Flores war sehr lang und ermüdend gewesen und wir waren froh endlich ... read more

I arrived to Flores on Monday evening, 19th of March. I got there via bus from Chetumal with 3 other people I had met in the hostel in Chetumal : Laurenz from Berlin in Germany and Anja and Skander (a couple) from Bern in Switzerland. I had actually met Laurenz at the bank in Chetumal, where he tried to exchange some money, but in the end I had to do it for him, because he didn’t have his passport with him. I had made that mistake earlier that day and had returned to our hostel in the meantime to get it. Since I wanted to spare him that extra trip, I exchanged both of our money. The bus ride to Flores was long and exhausting and we were very happy when we finally arrived in Flores. ... read more

I got a bit ahead of myself in the last blog. We actually spent some time in Tikal after crossing the border into Guatemala and back into Belize. Commence Tikal… We (Cheryl, Chuck, and I - Leila) arrived to Tikal Wednesday, January 10, 2018 in the afternoon. It was nice to return and to drive the countryside of Guatemala once again. Guatemala is a very beautiful country with endless hills, valleys, greenery, fincas, lots of livestock, and farms. It had it’s own feeling, as have really all of the places we’ve visited. I am always reminded it is best to take the back roads and take your time getting to know the place, the people, the history and culture, and also the sites, the sounds, and smells. Introduce yourself, make new acquaintances, act with respect, courtesy, ... read more
Hotel Tikal Inn
Our Cabana
Tikal, Guatemala

An early 5am wake up was required to catch out 6am bus to El Salvador. This was expected to take longer than the previous bus trip taking us around 12 hours to reach Santa Ana in the north of El Salvador. The bus became very full very quickly with many people standing, unable to find a seat. It wasn’t as nice as our previous bus and lacked working air conditioning, legroom or reclining chairs. Despite our previous luxurious experience in the bus, it was fine. After 11 hours of driving and stopping on the bus we arrived to the Guatemala -El Salvador border. The passengers queued up to get their exit stamps and later got entry stamps from El Salvador. Ben had told me about that despite there being an official stance suggesting there is no ... read more

The day started again with the typical Flores breakfast. Pancakes with maple syrup, fruit juice and bottomless coffee, by the waterfront. This time we visited a different restaurant, called Casa Amelia. I spent breakfast reading about the history of Guatemala, learning that they only recently returned to democracy in 1996, and have had difficulty enforcing rule of law and managing crime rates since. After breakfast we had a few hours before the bus left for Tikal, so we bought snacks, water and sandwiches for the trip, bus tickets for the next day’s travel and packed for the day trip. Just after midday a very friendly minibus driver, or chauffeur as he referred to himself in Spanish called Manuel picked us up from our hostel. It was a bit of an empty mini bus with just us ... read more

We woke up at 6am and I visited the local bakery for a cinnamon pastry and morning coffee for breakfast. It was a very pleasant walk two blocks with the colourful colonial style architecture and empty street. At 7.40am the bus picked us up from the hostel to take us into Guatemala City to transfer to Flores in the North. We spent most of the bus journey talking, planning the rest of the days on the trip and a brief stop for food too. At 8pm we arrived at Flores. We woke early the next morning and decided to spend the day relaxing on the island of Flores. By the waterfront there were many restaurants serving pancake breakfasts with honey, strawberries and unlimited coffee for $3. I enjoyed this while looking over the lake. After breakfast ... read more

Tikal is the home of a Mayan civilisation. It was once a city with temples, pyramids, streets and houses built by the ancient Mayans (you may remember their calendar from popular apocalyptic films such as 2012 and Apocalypto). I was picked up from my hostel at 4:30am and we got to the park at 6. There were 2 tour guides, one doing a Spanish tour and one doing an English. The English tour group had so many people in it, over 25, whereas the the Spanish language tour only had 6 people so we (Me and Laurenz) opted for that one instead. Guatemalans speak slowly and clearly and this is one of the Spanish speaking countries I understand the most out of all! The Mexicans decided they didn't want a tour and explored by  themselves. I ... read more
Temple I
Temple II
View of Temples III, II and I from the top of Temple IV

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