Here we try to give you the best available information but schedules, prices, fees and conditions change without notice so please check before traveling. The companies listed here are not necessarily recommended, rather provided for information only.
When arriving to Flores, we can send private, reliable transportation to pick you up from the airport, bus station or Flores area for $26 (up to 5 persons).
To and from Guatemala City (GUA):
Flights arrive daily from Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Madrid and other international cities. Check with American Airlines, Delta, Continental or Iberia.
To and from Flores (FRS):
TACA and TAG operate the Guatemala City-Flores route. There are morning and evening flights. TAG perhaps will soon be offering flights to/from Flores and Cancún, Mexico, check their website for more details. Tropic Air and Maya Island Air service the Belize City-Flores route.
To and From Belize City (BZE):
International flights to Belize arrive daily from Miami, Atlanta, Houston, and others. Check with American Airlines, Continental, Delta, U.S. Airways and Taca. If you fly into Belize and choose not to fly to Flores, you will need to take a local or express bus to the Guatemala border and then take a bus Flores or El Remate, total approx. travel time is 3.5hrs by bus. Also check the arriving by bus section further down on this page. Leaving Belize by air, the International airport has a departure tax of $35 USD, but this may be prepaid by the airline in your ticket price. Check with your airline.
Note if you're arriving from Belize and planning to return to Belize during your trip, be sure to check immigration requirements for re-entry. We have had Swiss and Argentina visitors who had a one entry visa and were required to get a new visa for re-entry. Cost varies depending on your country of origin.
*A good option if you arrive to the Belize airport later in the day and wish to rest before traveling to Guatemala is to stay at the Orchid Garden Eco Village. It is located only 20 min. from the airport in route to the Guatemala border and offers comfortable accommodation, good food, information and great tours. Transfer from the BZE airport is available.
First, please note that companies normally don't guarantee that you will get services as advertised. Services vary in quality and can be inconsistent.
There are no formal bus stations in Guatemala City or other parts on the country. In bigger towns or cities, there is a large parking area where local buses gather usually called "La Terminal". Be very careful in these areas, as most are often disorganized and crowded, sometimes unsafe. Many companies have their private bus station, office or parking place, for example in Guatemala City with the companies that offer service to Flores.
Visitors often report that on some local and tourist buses (especially in Petén area) salesmen often come on board or approach you when getting off the bus, employing high pressure tactics to sell tickets or services. We recommend that you buy tickets only at authorized offices and not from street salesmen. Note that if you buy your services on the street, it is almost impossible to get your money back or locate a salesman if any complications arise. Nothing is free even when advertised as such. Many hotels and attractions pay commissions to taxi and bus drivers for bringing them customers. Sometimes, even if you ask to go to a certain place or hotel some will try to convince you to go another place that offers a commission.
At La Casa De Don David, we do not sell tickets or services for the purpose of commission, rather we try to offer the best service available.
To and from El Remate and Flores area:
There are private taxis and minibuses for approx. $26 for up to 5 persons, or local bus for Q20pp ($3). Best to have change ready. Local buses to Santa Elena/Flores run almost hourly, between 6 am - 4:30 pm, and from Santa Elena/Flores to El Remate from 6 am - 6 pm. The ride is approx 40 min. You can catch the local minibuses on the main road in front of the Flores/Santa Elena airport or the terminal, but the journey can be uncomfortable as these are often very crowded and make many stops. After 6:00 pm there are no local buses to El Remate, private transportation is the only option. If you get on a bus going to the Belize border (Melchor), you may be dropped off in El Cruce 'Ixlu', which is approx. 2 km. from El Remate. From there you must get another bus, taxi or walk 2 km to El Remate. If you're interested in renting a car while in the Flores-Tikal area, try Tabarini, Hertz or others. All of these can be found usually at or near the airport.
To and From Guatemala City:
Getting around in Guatemala City should be done with much precaution, as in any big city. Public buses are not recommended, as they are often unsafe. It's best to get around by taxi. However we do not recommend hailing a taxi on the street, the safest way is to call or have your hotel call a formal taxi service company to pick you up. A good option is Taxi Amarillo, Tel. 2332-1515. Their drivers and taxis carry proper identification, and are metered. Making a note of a taxi number and/or driver's name is helpful if you should encounter any problems.
The journey between Guatemala City and Flores is approx. 8hrs and there are several types of bus service available. "Lujo" or luxury buses are the usually the best and most comfortable option, as they have A/C, reclinable seats, bathroom & TV, and are the most direct. Linea Dorada has two types of bus service from Guatemala City, "lujo" and "economico". The "economico" is a cheaper overnight option but often without amenities and less comfortable seats, and makes several stops along the route. It departs at 10pm and 10am, cost $20pp one way. The "lujo" double-deck bus has reclinable seats, A/C and is $28pp one way, departing at 9pm.
A good alternative is ADN bus with more spacious reclinable seats, due to rows of two on the left and only one seat on the right. Other buses have rows of two on both sides. Their bus station in Guatemala City is a bit better looking than others. Service every night at 10pm, $24pp one way.
Fuente del Norte offers its Maya de Oro comfortable double-deck bus and others from $15 to $25pp depending on the kind of bus.
NOTE: Upon arriving in Flores area, most tourists are told to get off the bus on Flores island. Their final stop is the mainland Santa Elena bus terminal, the towns are separated by a short causeway. It’s your choice where to get off, depending on your plans. Sometimes you must insist to the driver if you wish to go to the Santa Elena terminal. Flores is the main tourist area, several taxis can be found here and it is less disorganized than the Santa Elena terminal area, but beware of street salesmen who will sometimes offer deals that don’t always work out. We do not recommend buying services on the street.
To and from Antigua:
Antigua is located 23 km from Guatemala City. Visitors traveling to Tikal from Antigua or vice versa often take a collective shuttle to/from the Guatemala City airport or company bus station. If you are traveling with several other people, you may find it convenient to take a private shuttle or taxi. Check with Atitrans for collective shuttle schedules.
Revue magazine is a good source of information when in the Antigua area and traveling throughout Guatemala. You can pick up a free copy at hotels, restaurants or check their website at revuemag.com
To and From Rio Dulce and Livingston:
All buses on the Flores-Guatemala City route pass through the Rio Dulce area all day, everyday. Linea Dorada has a small office there. You can contact them to board or get off in Rio Dulce, although the overnight buses usually do not stop for passengers there. Livingston is only accessible by boat, and the 2 hour ride from Rio Dulce has spectacular scenery. Collective boats or "lanchas" run at least twice daily at 10am and 2pm, cost around Q150pp.
To and From Coban and Lanquin:
We sell tickets for a collective shuttle from El Remate to Cobán and Lanquin every day leaving at 8am. The trip is around 5 hours over paved road and costs $30pp (2 person minimum). Local buses leave from the Santa Elena/Flores bus terminal at 6am and 1pm. From Cobán, check with local agencies and hotels for exact schedules.
To and From Chetumal, Mexico, Belize City and San Ignacio:
San Juan or Linea Dorada 'express' buses service this route, leaving daily from Chetumal or Belize City marine terminal, cost $38 and $25pp USD. An express bus is probably your best option as they are normally more direct, comfortable, have reserved seating and you can usually arrange for the driver to bring you right to the hotel entrance in El Remate (although they can be reluctant at times). Going to Belize and Chetumal, the San Juan bus passes through El Remate at 5:30 and 8am,and the journey is around 3.5hrs to Belize City and 5hrs to Chetumal.
To/from the marine terminal and Belize City International airport you can take a taxi for around $20 USD.
Several local buses operate between Belize City and Benque Viejo or San Ignacio (the San Juan/Linea Dorada buses do not stop here) as well as other areas such as Belmopan or Placencia, an informative site is Belize Bus
There are no scheduled buses that depart from San Ignacio to Flores or vice versa. You can take the 9 mile ride between San Ignacio and the Belize-Guatemala border by taxi. On the Guatemalan side is the town of Melchor, from which local buses arrive and depart almost every hour to Flores.
Coming from Belize or the border, be sure to tell the bus driver that you are headed to El Remate and they may drop you off at the hotel entrance. If not they will drop you off at the Ixlú crossroad, 2 km from El Remate, or take you on to Flores. They are sometimes reluctant to bring you to El Remate, so if you are left at the Ixlu crossroad you can take another bus or taxi in route to Tikal that will drop you off near or at our hotel entrance in El Remate.
Tourism minibuses from the border to El Remate go for around $65 for up to 5 persons. You will almost always find taxis and minibuses looking for passengers, bargain your price.
Expect to pay about $18.75 USD in departure fees from Belize, even if you are in transit. Save your receipt as it may help with the fee if you plan to return to Belize within a month. There is not supposed to be an entry fee to Guatemala, although we have heard reports of people paying Q20pp at this border station. Exit from Guatemala is Q20pp. Always ask for a receipt.
Most visitors pay nothing to enter Belize. US dollars are accepted almost everywhere in the country and usually for the same exchange rate of 1 USD = 2 BZE dollars. Be careful - many travelers get confused and pay double on their first visit. Be sure to clarify if prices are in US dollars or Belize dollars.
To and from Palenque, Mexico:
This route must be traveled via minibus from Palenque to the Mexico/Guatemala border, where you must cross the Usumacinta river by boat and then continue by bus on to Flores, and vice versa. While in Palenque, buy your tickets at local travel agencies on the main street. Trip duration is approximately 7hrs and costs $30-$40pp. You'll arrive to Flores/Santa Elena around 4 or 5 pm. Going to Palenque, the bus can pick you up in El Remate at 4:30am, departing from Flores/Santa Elena at 5am.
To and from Placencia, Belize:
To our knowledge there are no scheduled express buses, the journey can be done by local bus to the Belize border, then take a taxi to Benque or San Ignacio, from where you board a local bus to Belmopan and then another bus to Placencia. The same coming from Placencia. Private minibus service can be arranged from La Casa De Don David to Placencia, a 5 to 6 hour journey. This is usually a more affordable alternative to flying.
Always check thoroughly that your documents are in order before and during travel. We have heard of visitors having trouble with rented cars at borders because of writing errors in the vehicle permits or other documents, so be sure that the VIN number, license plate, etc. is written properly to avoid delays when crossing borders. Verify as well that immigration and customs officials fill out documents properly upon entry/exit for each country.
Driving from Flores/Santa Elena:
Exercise caution on this road, as it has many potholes and speed bumps. Follow the signs to Tikal. Around 30 km from Flores or 2 km past the intersection "Ixlu" or "El Cruce" with the road to Melchor and Belize border, you will enter the small, lakeside wood carving village of El Remate. La Casa De Don David is on the left-hand side approx. 1 km after passing the school and football field on the right as you enter the village. The hotel is located on the left at the Y junction that separates the main road from the lakeside road.
Driving From Belize:
There is an $18.75 USD fee per person for exiting Belize, even if you are in transit. Keep your receipt - it may reduce your final departure tax at the airport or border if returning to Belize within 30 days. We do not have updated information on departure fees for vehicles. Expect some disorder on this border. A car permit for entry into Guatemala can cost around $10. When bringing a vehicle into Guatemala, customs (aduana) requires a photocopy of your passport and driver's license. They will direct you to a copier if you do not have one, but it is easier if you have one prepared. At the present time there are no car insurance sales for Guatemala at the border, but you may be able to buy insurance in Flores. To our knowledge insurance is not required.
After passing immigration and exiting the Guatemala border station, there is a very small toll bridge. Tolls are typically Q5-10, however we have heard of people paying up to Q150. Ask for a 'factura' (receipt) and verify that it is for the correct amount. Ask for receipts as well at immigration and customs.
The road between the border and Ixlu crossroad is in the slow process of being paved. Expect parts of smooth pavement, and in some areas an abrupt change to rough, unpaved parts with large potholes, depending on the current conditions of the road. It is about 60 km (approx. 35 mi.) and takes about 1 1/2 hrs. by car, slightly more by bus. From the Ixlu crossroad or junction, take the right turn towards Tikal (to the left you will go to Flores). El Remate and the hotel are about 2 km. away.
Crystal Auto Rental is one of the only rental companies who will let their vehicles cross the border from Belize into Guatemala. They have good vehicles at reasonable prices and will rescue you if you should break down. Contact them at www.crystal-belize.com
Driving from Cancún, Mexico:
We do not have detailed information on this route. Some of our guests have rented through Cancun Rent a Car, which allows their vehicles to cross into Belize and Guatemala.