Flores is a beautiful little town on an island in Lake Peten Itza. It’s a nice area to go kayaking/canoeing, but the main draws are the nearby attractions – especially Tikal.
1500 years ago, Tikal was the key Mayan city in the region and fielded many temples, palaces, fortifications, and trade routes. The site covers an area of 60 square kilometers. It’s worth taking a full day to explore the area and the many out-of-the-way temples. Bring plenty of water though, as it can get very hot and humid!
You can easily do a day trip to Tikal from Flores via a shuttle. It takes a little over an hour to reach the ruins from town. Another great and less known day trip is to the Biotopo Cerro Cahui, a national reserve teaming with wildlife and has very well maintained trails. Get here by taking a public bus (more like a van) from the main town market in Flores/Santa Elena to El Remate. From El Remate it’s a 15 minute walk to the park entrance along the lakeshore road.
The loop trail in Cahui takes around 3 hours, and you’re likely to see all kinds of wildlife. I saw 3 monkeys, hummingbirds, giant butterflies with what looked like an owl eye on its wing, and a funny rodent critter that was leaping from tree to tree. At the park entrance a ranger will give you a map and can answer any questions that you may have. They don’t speak much English though, so some Spanish knowledge will be useful.
My journeys in Guatemala continue onto Lanquin, and little town with beautiful parks, hikes, and caves!