Set on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá, this pretty island town presents a Mediterranean-style charm and is a gateway to the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal.
Flores is a captivating town where quaint cobblestone streets wind around a small hill and swaying palm trees stand beside pastel-colored buildings. It’s a place to visit colonial landmarks and take boat trips on the lake’s emerald water. Flores occupies an island called Flores Island and is connected to the mainland by a short causeway.
Flores’ compact size makes it a perfect place to explore on foot. Situated in the heart and highest point of the town is the elegant Catedral de Flores, home to a revered icon of the Black Christ. The cathedral overlooks Parque Central, a great place sit, relax and people-watch. Go to nearby CINCAP Museum to find exhibits on the archaeological sites and ancient cultures of the Petén region. Located in a centuries-old fortress, the museum also houses the handicraft shops of Mayan artisans.
Wander along the quiet streets, which zigzag down toward the lakeshore. The town’s colorful cubist houses conjure up images of a sleepy Caribbean or Mediterranean village. Many of the houses are also cafés, restaurants and hotels. Find one with a rooftop terrace, order a coffee or chicken pepian, a dish with a spicy vegetable and sesame sauce, and enjoy uninterrupted lake views.
Go to the waterfront, where a promenade travels around the town’s perimeter. Take a refreshing swim in the warm lake water. At the town’s pier boats depart regularly on tours of Lake Petén Itzá. Spot macaws, ocelots, pumas and spider monkeys at Zoologico Penecito and visit the small community of San Miguel. Rent a kayak and explore the lake at your own pace.
Flores is a 15-minute drive from Mundo Maya International Airport, which receives flights from Guatemala City and Belize City. You’ll find guesthouses, hostels and hotels to suit all budgets. Alternatively, stay in Santa Elena, Flores’ sister town situated across the causeway.
Don’t miss the chance to visit Tikal National Park, a vast jungle home to the ruins of an ancient Mayan city. It’s just a 1-hour bus ride from Flores.