Flores Travel Guide
Located along the southwest shore of Lake Petén Itzá, 65 km. from Tikal and 30 km from El Remate, the island of Flores is the capital of the department of Petén, Guatemala. It is separated from the mainland towns of Santa Elena and San Benito by a short causeway. Flores has a population of approximately 13,700 (2003).
During ancient Maya times, Flores was the city of Tayasal. It was the last known capital of the Itzi Maya and one of the last cities conquered by the Spanish in 1697, almost completely destroyed. The modern city of Flores was built over the ruins of Tayasal. In the central park near the Catholic church you can find some monuments from the Postclassic period.
With its colorful, colonial style architecture and narrow cobblestone streets, Flores is a quaint island town which you can circle by foot in less than an hour. Several hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops can be found here. There are also many “lanchas” (boats) offering trips around Lake Petén Itzá and visits to nearby Rey Canek lookout point.
The mainland town of Santa Elena is home the Mundo Maya International Airport, which serves the Flores/Tikal area and Petén. It is the only international airport in the country aside from La Aurora in Guatemala City. Flights depart and arrive everyday from Belize and Guatemala City, service from Cancún Mexico to be resumed in the near future by TAG airlines. In Santa Elena you will also find a local market, supermarkets and banks, keep in mind this is the closest location of a bank or ATM to Tikal.
Flores/Santa Elena can also be reached by bus from Guatemala City (8hrs), Coban (5hrs), Belize City (5hrs), and Palenque, Mexico (7hrs), among others. From the Santa Elena terminal, local buses leave to El Remate and Tikal approximately every hour, please see our travel information page for details.
Private transportation to and from Flores can be arranged from our reception desk, please contact us.