A few months ago, I let you choose my next trip. I had the idea to pre-select 16 destinations that make me dream and I gave you the opportunity to vote on my Instagram account (@brunomaltor) to choose the one you wanted to discover through my Instagram stories and posts, vlogs … and blog posts obviously. It was Guatemala who won and so I left for 3 weeks to discover this beautiful country. And my journey begins in the city of Flores.
What to visit in Guatemala: Flores
Let's start at the beginning: here is a presentation of this country that has intrigued you so much.
Population: About 17 million inhabitants
Capital city : Guatemala City, 1 million inhabitants
Area: 108,888 km² (6 times smaller than France).
Change : The Quetzal
Change: Count around 10 Quetzales for 1 euro
Neighboring countries : Mexico, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador.
As you can see, Guatemala is a very small part of the world that is full of many treasures that I will present to you.
How to get there ?
For me, it all started with my friend Clément by a flight Paris> Mexico> Guatemala City via the company AeroMexico. There are no direct flights from France to Guatemala, and this option is the most interesting from a quality / price point of view: count 500 euros to do the A / R in very aircrafts modern equipped with wifi, USB sockets, etc … And especially, a first flight well on time which assured me to take the second trip without problems. In short, a very good company that I recommend for your next trip to Central America!
An express passage in Guatemala City
Once in Guatemala City, I decided … not to stay in the capital.
Why ? For two main reasons. The first is that the tourist interests seemed to me rather limited in this city … But also and especially because I heard many negative echoes about it … I know, I know, there are plenty of people to whom it will NOT happen in Guatemala City, but it does not prevent that 90% of ” dirty stories That I could hear happened there.
Flores, to the Maya territories
So I made my way to Flores, far north of the country, known for being very nice and safe. To do this, you have two options: the bus, which will take you about eight hours for more or less 30 euros (possible to make the night journey to save a little) or the plane, which will require an hour for about 100 euros.
I chose option B, mainly because I had already chained nearly 20 hours of journeys to reach my destination, and I did not want to accumulate too much fatigue from the beginning of the trip.
Flores is known as the gateway to the Mayan territories (although at its peak, the Mayan borders stretched far beyond), it is also built on an ancient Mayan city of which there is nothing left today : Tayasal. This is where most of the excursions to the most famous sites of this ancient civilization in Guatemala start: Tikal and Yaxha (but I will tell you about these places in more detail later). It is also known for its many colorful houses, its cobbled streets, its relaxing atmosphere … In short, the perfect place to start a stay 🙂
I spent 2 days there to quietly get back from the jetlag, and I do not regret this choice. The city is often hardly overflown by travelers but she deserves in my opinion at least a full day.
What to do in Flores?
Getting lost in the small streets
I will give you some spots that I liked in Flores but before that here is what I really liked in this city: it is discovering random walks. Simply lose yourself in the alleyways, at your own pace, and enjoy. Enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the smiles of the locals, enjoy the bright colors of the houses available to your retina.
Everything is easy to walk to Flores, so feel free to get lost. Really.
Admire the sunset
Flores is located on an island in the middle of Lake Petén Itzá. It is connected to the country by a simple road and therefore logically bordered by water on almost all of its extremities. So you can find along its banks, many pontoons that locals and tourists use to come dive into the lake and cool off. There is one that is particularly pleasant at sunset. You will find it in front of the hotel The Union (which I refer to later in the article), to these Google Maps coordinates. From there you can admire the sunset with in the foreground local people having fun on the pontoon. A perfect atmosphere.
Have a drink at Los Amigos Youth Hostel
Los Amigos Youth Hostel is simply one of the most beautiful hostels I have ever seen. With its many plants covering the walls, its cheap beer, its many travelers and multicolored neon lights to illuminate everything, the atmosphere is simply magical.
The place ” Central Park »
At the end of the day, this is where many locals gather and play football, cards … it's a real place to live. It is bordered by a small church and colorful houses and is well worth a visit during your visit to Flores.
Have a coffee Maple & Tocino
Located on the shores, the Maple & Tocino is not very “local” but it is an ideal place for digital nomads who need a good connection to work. Because indeed the connection to Guatemala is not always at the top and if like me you sometimes need to use the internet to work or otherwise, this kind of place can save your life, I was happy to fall on it 🙂
Where to stay in Flores
Since it is very touristy, you have several options to stay in Flores. I repeat myself, but this island is very small, so you do not have to worry about ” which neighborhood to prefer “: Everything is done very well on foot!
Los Amigos Youth Hostel
As mentioned above, Los Amigos Youth Hostel is an exceptional hostel. I did not sleep there but went for a drink, and it was really a nice discovery. I took the opportunity to talk with people who were staying there, and they were all delighted with the place … I can only advise you!
Hotel La Union
The second option is the hotel La Unionand that's where I slept. It is a bit more expensive than the hostel option, but it is very honest because the price is about 20 euros per night in a private room with private bathroom. There is also a nice rooftop on the roof of the hotel (logic), very cool for sunsets!
Bolontiku Boutique Hotel
Finally, there are more expensive options, such as Bolontiku Boutique Hotel who has a good reputation.
As you can see, there is something for everyone.
The rest of the trip
What I did not tell you was that Flores was only the very first step of this wonderful trip. I have so much to say to you that I have decided to cut you further in other articles that will appear below shortly:
- Tikal and Yaxha
- Semuc Champey & Chichicastenango (coming soon)
- Lake Atitlan (coming soon)
- Antigua & the Acatenango and Fuego volcanoes (coming soon)
All my videos made in Guatemala are below, do not hesitate to watch them, there are things in that I did not specify here:
Guatemala was a fucking adventure. And I really wish you to live it once in your life. Personally, I think already when I go back …