When my boyfriend and I decided to spend a couple days in Guatemala as part of a larger Central America vacation, I did a ton of research on where to stay in Guatemala that was close to the Tikal ruins. Reading through a bunch of travel blogs, I saw the city of Flores repeatedly mentioned as the best place to stay, and I can’t say enough good things about it even though we were there for under 24 hours.
Flores is located on the southern shore of Lake Petén Itzá which is about 92 kilometers (1 hour, 30 minute drive) from the Belize border and 65 kilometers (1 hour drive) from Tikal. In all reality, we could have chosen to stay somewhere near the border or at a resort closer to Tikal, but we wanted to explore the country with the little time that we had.
Most of the city itself is located next to the lake, but I highly recommend staying on the Island of Flores which is connected by a small isthmus to the main city. It will take you only about 30 minutes walking at a brisk pace to walk around the entire island, but there are plenty of quaint bars and restaurants tucked in every side street.
Photo Credit: Audley Travel Group
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Casona de Isla
Calle 30 de Junio, 17001 Flores, Guatemala
The hotel itself and the grounds around it (it has a pool and it’s right on the lake) but we had an “interesting” experience. Our room was extremely small, with dingy wallpaper and outdated furniture (there was one of those ‘massage beds for $50, which we were super bummed didn’t work!) There were the bars on the windows too which wasn’t the most inviting. That being said, I did peep into other rooms on the property and they seemed just fine. We apparently were given the worst room in the place, but we were only staying for 1 night, so we just cut our losses.
FOOD & DRINK
Food Stalls on Calle Sur y Centro América
Once you cross the isthmus you’ll reach the very first intersection which has a lot of food stalls and carts – Definitely a must if you want to try some local street-meat.
La Danta Cafe & Restaurant
15 de Septiembre, Flores, Guatemala
Website / TripAdvisor Link
We came here for a late-night dinner and drinks and enjoyed a traditional meal of chicken, rice and vegetables along with a few rum cocktails. Get a table outside for an unobstructed view and lakeside dining that’s only steps from the lake.
Calle la Union 20, Flores 17001, Guatemala
We stumbled across this rooftop bar after dinner one night and immediately loved the laid-back atmosphere of the place (reggae music included!). we grabbed a seat right out on the patio and enjoyed a cigar with our drinks (and yes, they sell cigars at the bar). The view of the lake is INCREDIBLE and the bar staff was very friendly. If you get cold easily, definitely bring a light jacket with you.
Go here for breakfast!
La Gardenia (Hotel Las Gardenias)
On Highway Km. 30 | main road to Tikal, El Remate 17022, Guatemala
This hotel restaurant is located on the main highway to Tikal and offers a great view of the lake. We can here after visiting Tikal for lunch and all the water bottles they would sell us. Good food with chicken and rice + hot sauce.