Welcome to my article on the island town of Flores in Guatemala! My name is Courtney and I’m a 24 year old English content creator. Ever since I can remember, I traveled with my parents and that love for travel has stuck with me. My parents went to incredible places like Morocco, China and Sri Lanka – and I remember loving how different each part of the world was.
When I started my own travels at 18 I wanted a way to document them, so I used my iPhone 5 to take quick snaps of what I was doing and where I was going. From there, year by year, I became more serious about photography and content creation. Then in 2020 it became my full time job.
Recently, I heard amazing things about Guatemala from friends who visited and I knew that I wanted to go there after a work trip in Costa Rica. I went to Guatemala without much of a plan of how long I was going to stay but ended up staying a month going overland through the country. My itinerary was the following: Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Lanquin and Flores.
Chillin’ in Flores for a Few Days
My original plan didn’t include Flores but after deciding on going to Belize, and hearing how wonderful it was, I thought it was definitely worthwhile. So funnily enough I actually went to Flores twice – first was before my time in Belize and second was after. I got really sick from swimming in the water of Semuc Champey and was pretty much bed ridden for eight days.
I was so sick I could barely leave the hostel, so I wanted to go back when I was feeling better and I’m glad I did. I did Jorge’s Rope Swing (which is an ideal sunset spot), sunrise at Tikal, rented kayaks, went for breakfast every morning at Maple & Tocino and just explored the beautiful little streets.
I loved Flores because it was something different to the other parts of Central America. It was relaxed, quaint and a great place to spend a few days. It’s also the base for people who go to Tikal National Park and its ruins, which is without doubt one of the best things to do in Guatemala.
Best Things To Do in Flores
For me, I love how quiet Flores is. It’s a nice change from the craziness of a lot of other destinations in Central America. You don’t need to spend a lot of time in Flores but it’s a superb place to slow down and take it all in. I feel like these activities recommended below give you a little bit of everything.
1. Stay at Los Amigos Hostel in Flores
Los Amigos is such a social hostel. The vibe is awesome – it has its own restaurant and even a little “nightclub” in the back. Because Flores is so small there aren’t that many hostels to choose from, which makes Los Amigos even better because everyone chooses to stay there – backpacker central! I also stayed in Hotel Peten. It has a pool and a view over the lake.
2. Watch the Sunset at Jorge’s Rope Swing
At Jorge’s Rope Swing you can jump into the water via the rope or diving boards, have some drinks and socialize as the sun goes down. You can kayak or arrange a boat there. It’s located across the lake and a little house greets you as you arrive. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon in Flores.
3. Visit Tikal National Park at Sunrise
Tikal is epic and certainly worth a visit, especially at sunrise. I booked the tour through Los Amigos and paid £25 for the day which included entry to the ruins. The bus leaves quite early, at 4:30am, and it takes just over an hour to get there. This tour has a guide leading the way, and they will teach you about the ancient city’s history and the most interesting temples. You can’t come to Guatemala without visiting Tikal in some form!
4. Eat/Drink at Cool Beans and Maple & Tocino
Cool Beans is a laid-back spot where you can get your caffeine fix while catching up on emails or chatting with your new travel friends. Maple & Tocino, as mentioned, was the place I had breakfast every morning. The food is tasty and the view of the lake makes it even more appealing.
Final Tips for Visiting Flores
Flores has its own airport. If you’re thinking of skipping Semuc Champey, I would suggest flying rather than getting the bus because the bus is about 22 hours long! Also double check the weather forecast before you go. Flores is a destination that looks and feels a lot better when the sun shines.
The whole of Flores was stunning and I just loved walking around the colorful little streets. There are a few excellent eating spots in town, and just sitting and watching the boats go by is enjoyable. Other than that I loved visiting Tikal National Park with its astonishing role in Guatemalan history.