The town of Flores ( 110 m ) is built on an island on Lago de Petén Itzá, a small damm connects it to the town of Santa Elena. Flores is a very neat small town with narrow streets and many small hotels and restaurants. I stayed there at the Hotel Santana ( $20 ), it's located at the beginning of Calle 30 de Junio ( hotelsantana@guate.net ). Many tourists just fly into Santa Elena, drive up to Tikal fly back the ( next ) day to Guatemala City, I would recommend to spend some more time in El Petén, even I was running out of time with my planned 5 days ( 4 nights ).

Flores, seen from Santa Elena
seen from Santa Elena

A street in Flores
Steet scene of Flores

Parque Central of Flores
A door in Flores

View on Lago de Petén Itzá from my room
View on Lago de Petén Itzá
from my room

Ceibal    ( Tuesday 03/07 )

Already Monday evening as I was back in Flores I had checked with one of the small travel agencies if the trip to Ceibal the next day would take place ( the day trip did cost $25 ) and yes a few more people had signed up for the journey so it would work out. Sayaxché Our boat and guide on Río de la Pasión
Tuesday, at 8.30pm the minibus came to pick me up, shortly after me - Lori got onto the bus ( a girl from Ottawa ), in the end we were a group of 10 ( 4 from the Netherlands, 1 italien & 1 polish guy, 2 Japanese, Lori and me ).
First we had to get by the bus to the town of Sayaxché ( took about 1 hour ), it's 60 km southwest of Flores through the jungle ( half dirt road, half paved - but they had worked on the road to get it completely paved ). From there we did get on a boat on the Río de la Pasión. And it took an 1 1/2 hour boat trip to get to the small dock of Ceibal. During the boat ride we did see many birds, turtles, monkeys, aligators and the live of guatemalan people near the river.

Life near Río de la Pasión Aligator Life near Río de la Pasión The dock of Ceibal

After we landed on the "dock" it took about 30 minutes to walk up to the Mayan site of Ceibal. The small path leads over many steps through the jungle underneath these huge ceiba trees. Ceibal itself is for sure not one of the most impressive Mayan sites, but the journey to this archaeological zone is one to remember. The temples of Ceibal are very small and most of them are coverd by the jungle, but there are some beautiful stelae, with excellently preserved carvings. One important note - bring your own food and drinks for this trip, best bring some more to share it with your guide and the guards at Ceibal, and bring a good mosquito repellent - since they are everywhere. During the whole time we heard the roaring of the howler monkeys, but we couldn't make them out in the "jungle roof", they really sound very alike the roaring of jaguars.

The small path through the jungle

one of stelaes
kind of the main plaza of Ceibal

one of the temples covered by the jungle
one of stelaes

me in front of an about 600yrs old ceiba tree

At around 2pm we turned around to get back to the boat and at 5pm we were back in Flores. At 6pm Lori came by, first we did enjoy the wonderful sunset over the Lago de Petén Itzá from the terrace of my room. Than we went together for dinner to the "Mayan Princess Cafe & Cinema" ( at corner: Calle 10 de Septiember & Av La Reforma ), there an entree - a main dish and a soup - did cost 30 GTQ, very tasty food and great atmosphere. After the dinner I said goodby to Lori and returned to my hotel.
The following day, Wednesday, I strolled again through Flores and around noon I got on my way to the airport of Santa Elena to catch my flight back to Guatemala City. There I stayed for another night in the Hotel Pan American, I've picked up my big backpack in the Lobby and than started to pack everything for my flight the next day to Costa Rica.

So it was time to say goodbye to Guatemala!
I really would have liked to stay there for at least another month - there is so much more to see in this amazing country with it's ancient cultural sites and friendly people.


All photographs contained on this site are Copyright   -   2001 Tina Leidinger


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