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Flores Travel Blog

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Going to board our plane to Flores
Its been a pretty eventful trip so far and we haven't even been here a week. I arrived in Guatemala late last Saturday to meet my friend Joel at GC airport, we crashed at an overpriced hotel near the airport as we were flying out on Guatemala´s only domestic flight to Flores which is in the El Peten region, north of the country. The plane itself was tiny and had only 12 rows total but the flight was quick about an hour, and pretty smooth sailing. After both arriving from countries in the last throws of winter the blazing sun in Flores was simply divine.
The little island was to be our base for the next three days to visit the legendary Mayan ruins at Tikal, approx 60km away but more on that later.
Flores is situated on Lago Peten Izta and the whole island can be covered in about 30mins total, even I can´t get lost! We found a cheep and cheerful guesthouse for the bargain basement price of about ten pounds a night so 5 a night each, not bad considering we had our own bathroom too and the use of the hammocks on the terrace. After checking in it was time to explore, find some place to eat, Joel is forever hungry and his friends have suggested he may have worms. Things looked promising when managed to find a bar that sold ´buckets` of beer and another that had a happy hour from 12pm - 9pm, score!!!!
After shunning the initial offer of a tour to Tikal with out taxi driver from the airport we went to a tour agency to see if we could overnight stay so when could see sunrise and sunset, but none seemed forthcoming (mostly due to the lack of people that seemed to be around in Flores), however we did manage to get ourselves onto a tour that would allow us to arrive for sun rise and get all day in the park and hopefully see some of the jungle wildlife.

Next day we decided to check out the small town of El Remante, halfway between Flores and Tikal. It is such an idyllic little place, consisting of only a few roads, set further north on the lake than Flores, which we almost missed as our driver had decided we were going to Tikal a day early before I piped up and we hoped off the buss some 2km out of town. Due to its low population this end of the lake remains pristine and you´d be forgiven for thinking that you were gazing out onto the waters of the Caribbean or the like. Its also renowned for its wood carvings and we were hoping to avoid getting ripped off by the gift shop-museum at Tikal and pick up some Mayan god wood carvings. After some bum directions from the LP and locals alike we finally found the few artisans shops in the village, although the quality was unlike anything else I have seen on my travels the price were pretty steep, some of them $100 plus.
...more on this in later updates, all I
can say is hindsight is a bitch!
We made it back to Flores a little easier than we´d arrived and headed to one of LP's recommended eateries, Cafe La Luna, the food was great and the staff we super friendly and gave us a shot of some rum like substance at the end of the meal....although the free shot may owe to a mix up between Joel and myself  which meant the waiter got a 50Qz (about 4 pounds) tip!
My trip was about to get a kick in the guts (almost literally) when about an hour before we were due to get up to got to Tikal I started to feel really sick and had the worst stomach ache. After getting up and making it onto the bigger bus to Tikal things got even worse when our bus driver decided that he was going to drive like he was in a Hollywood car chase with the end result being me losing last nights dinner all over the bus and onto the grass verge - the poor girl in the front seat had a full view, I was so embarrassed.
I had hope that I was going to feel better after emptying the contents of my stomach everywhere but no such luck.
We had a really great guide for the day, who spoke fantastic English, after me running to the bushes to be sick, again, he started to show us around the park pointing out different species of plant and animal life. We even got to watch a group of Spider monkeys chase each other through the trees. This is definitely one of the best things about Tikal, there is still a great amount of wildlife running though the place. The main reason for this being that huge sections of Tikal are still not excavated and in cased in the jungle. Only about 20% of it is actually uncovered. It was nuts to walk past these huge mounds of dirt that contain Mayan temples beneath them.
Scientist are hesitant to continue excavation for a number of reasons. First off, this is expensive to do and requires a lot of funding (a lot of which comes from foreign aid). Secondly, further excavation will compromise the animals that live in the area. Lastly, the temples are protected by the
ground they are under and not exposed to the elements that can further damage them. So, after watching some Pixote's (raccoon-like animals) dig for tarantulas, we continued our hike through the park.
As much as the entire day was a struggle due to my lack of well being, I was determined to soldier on and get the most out of my trip, also I didn't want to ruin things for Joel. In between, slowly, climbing to the top of soaring Mayan pyramids to view other parts of the complex poking through the jungle canopy, I paid tribute to my very own porcelain god at temples 1, 2 and 5.
The crowing pinnacle of the park is the Grand Plaza, which houses two of the most amazing pyramids, the most important of which is the Temple of the Grand Jaguar, and several of the royal palaces, a small Ball Court (a life or death gladiatorial affair played by the Mayans - Joel tells me the one at the Mexican site of Chichan Itza is massive!) and a few excavated Mayan stone heads.
The guide disappeared mid-morning leaving us to snap away like Japanese tourists and also to explore the most remote temple of the site, Temple VI - Temple of Inscriptions, the 1.2km hike was more than worth it as this proved to be one of our favourite sections of the site as its one of the few pyramids with any detail left on it.

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Going to board our plane to Flores
Going to board our plane to Flores
Which one is Joel....let me see
Which one is Joel....let me see
First siting of a Pixote
First siting of a Pixote
View across the jungle with the va…
View across the jungle with the v…
Rather you than me Joel!
Rather you than me Joel!
A wild turkey, better looking than…
A wild turkey, better looking tha…
Sunset over Flores
Sunset over Flores
photo by: Deannimal