Flores is probably one of the cutest and most picturesque places I’ve visited so far. It’s filled with cozy cafés and colorful buildings, and even though it takes about 20 minutes to walk around the whole thing, it’s a fantastic place to visit.
If you’re coming to Flores via air, you’ll be landing at Aeropuerto Internacional Mundo Maya, also known as Petén international airport, located just east of Santa Elena. There are daily flights from Guatemala City to Santa Elena as well as daily flights from Belize City.
If you’re backpacking your way through Central America, odds are you’ll be heading to Flores via bus or minibus, and you’ll be arriving at the Terminal Nuevo de Autobuses, about 1km from the causeway to Flores. From there just hop on a tuk-tuk and tell them your destination. Santa Elena isn’t the safest of places, so I would recommend taking a tuk-tuk over walking, and staying in Flores rather than Santa Elena.
Where to stay
Flores has plenty of nice places to stay. There are a lot of backpackers here, so if you’re looking for a nice hostel you’re in the right place. It’s a very popular stop for people looking to explore Tikal, as it’s only about an hour away, so expect to find a lot of excited travellers on this small island.
Hostel Los Amigos
Probably the most popular destination for backpackers and travellers in general. It’s a great budget choice and Flore’s one true hostel. Here you’ll find a tree house, hammocks, nightly bonfires, yoga, and happy hours.
Hospedaje Dona Goya
A top budget choice with a rooftop terrace, a palm-thatched shelter, and hammocks where you can enjoy the lake view.
A cute little family owned hotel with simple, spacious rooms, and a terrace for enjoying the lake view.
A boutique hotel with of a tad higher price class than previously mentioned, Casa Amelia offers bright stylish chambers and excellent lake views from the roof terrace. A good option if you’re not interested in sleeping in dorms.
What to do
Flores isn’t the wildest of places, and it’s not one of those places that come alive at night. However, there are still things to do and places to hang out. Flores Little Zona Viva is a strip of bars along Playa Sur, and almost all the restaurants in Santa Elena have afternoon happy hours. Alternatively, you can head to Parque Central for some drinks and relaxation.
This cute little place is perfect for a lunch break, a nice breakfast, or just to sit down and have a nice smoothie. With the terrace overlooking the lake, and the whole place filled with flowers, it’s the cutest little hangout.
El Trópico is a great place to start your night, they have a lovely candlelit terrace and a beautiful view over Santa Elena.
Also known as Café Chilero, is a laid-back café with a lush garden and some delicious breakfast and veggie burgers. It’s a great place to relax, watch some videos, read a book, or hang out with some friends.
Casa de Palmas
Located on Calle Sur in Flores you’ll find Casa de Palmas, here you can enjoy a cold drink on the terrace, or join in on the dance floor. You’ll find a lot of locals here, and a lot of non-stop dancing.
If you’re really looking for a night out, ‘El Mi’ is Santa Elena’s major disco. It’s got a big stage for salsa combos, and if you’re not much of a dancer, head there Monday to Wednesday – as it’s then reserved for karaoke.
A restaurant with a bar vibe and a pair of lakeside terraces serving some great comfort food – especially pizzas. Not the cheapest place in Flores, but if you’re a group and you like beer, check out their cubetazos – five bottles in a bucket for Q75.
An Italian gourmet restaurant set on a rooftop terrace underneath thatched canopy. Their tortellini, fettuccine, and taglioni are produced in house, and their fruit smoothies are not to be missed!