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Beautiful Flores is an island town in Guatemala. Its cubist houses descend from its central plaza to the welcoming waters of Lago de Petén Itzá. With flowers festooning the walls of the town, there is something of the Mediterranean about this island in Guatemala. Take a boat out on the lake, or just relax on the terrace of one of the many fine restaurants that line the streets of Flores, to enjoy the delightful lake views. Not far in the distance, the Petén rainforest awaits with the magnificent archaeological remains of Tikal at their centre.
Flores – Connected by a causeway to the mainland, the charming island town of Flores is the perfect place to recharge your batteries, enjoy the scenic views and relax in its bars and excellent restaurants.
Lago de Petén Itzá – A trip on the lake by boat or canoe can be arranged. You can visit small archaeological ruins and the local zoo, or just enjoy the scenery of the lake itself. Nearby there are many caves in the hills that can be explored and a couple of traditional villages to take in.
Tikal – Towering above the rainforest, not far from Flores, are the magnificent remains of Tikal, whose five enormous pyramidal temples dominate the surrounding structures. The site itself is huge – work uncovering remains still covered by the forest is ongoing. Experience the mystery of the Mayan civilisation’s collapse and wonder in awe at the ceremonial temples.
Uaxactún – Further north you can arrange a day trip to the ruins that remain still shrouded in jungle at Uaxactún. Here you can really feel like those who first discovered the abandoned cities of the Maya, and you are likely to enjoy the site pretty much to yourself.
Flores is surrounded by an attractive promenade that allows you take in the sights of the lake from all its aspects. Many, however, prefer to enjoy the views of the lake from the comfortable surrounds of a bar or restaurant terrace. Impressive as they are, the views here pale into insignificance next to the sight of Tikal’s monuments rearing up out of the forest. The sheer scale of the structures is even more impressive as you approach them: make sure you take a deep breath before you start to scale their large steps to enjoy the views from on high.
A boat trip around the lake offers a relaxing way to spend your day, although there are caves and traditional villages to explore nearby should you prefer. Easy day trips can be made to two impressive Mayan sites, Tikal and Uaxactún, but if you want to do it the hard way you can arrange a trek through the Petén to arrive at Tikal. You should expect howler monkeys, peccaries, bats and aching legs!