Flores Guatemala is a colorful island town amidst the picturesque Lake Petén Itzá. The main reason that travelers end up in this town is to visit Tikal but there are a handful of other things to do in Flores, Guatemala that you might just want to stick around for a few days.

Flores boasts cobblestone streets, brightly colored buildings, and a relaxed atmosphere. Wandering through the narrow streets, you’ll encounter a blend of local life and tourist-friendly establishments, from artisan shops to lively cafes.

As I mentioned earlier, Flores serves as a gateway to the ancient Maya wonders of Tikal. The lakeside promenade offers stunning views and the sunsets over the lake create a tranquil ambiance.

In this article, I’ll go over all what to do in Flores Guatemala, list a few of the best places to stay in town and add any useful tips that will help you in planning a trip to this charming, island getaway.

Things to do in Flores Guatemala

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Before we get started with the list of the best things to do in Flores Guatemala, you may be wondering is Flores Guatemala worth visiting?   There’s nothing like being on the water, whether it’s an ocean, lake or river – it just soothes me.

Since I slow travel, Joe and I spent a week on this colorful island and although a bit slow at times, we really enjoyed our time here. If you have been bumping around Central America for a while and need a place to kick back and relax, Flores is right up your alley.

If you are strapped for time and only have a week or two in Guatemala, I would use Flores as most do, to visit Tikal and continue on with your travels.

So to sum it up, Flores is definitely worth visiting. Stay a few days to enjoy the island and its surroundings if you have the gift of time. If however, time is not on your side, there are so many other awesome places to visit in Guatemala that I would pass in and out of Flores for Tikal and be on your way.

Colorful Door in Flores Guatemala
Palms trees in Flores

Things to do in Flores Guatemala Quick List

Below I have a listed the top things to do in Flores for easy viewing. If you’d like more information on a certain activity, click on the blue links below for more details that specific thing to do in Flores, Guatemala.

  1. Take a Boat Tour around the Lake
  2. Jorge’s Rope Swing
  3. Sunset from a Rooftop Bar
  4. Shop the Waterfront Popup Shops along the Malecon
  5. Day Trip to Tikal
  6. Wander the Ruins of Uaxactún
  7. Ixpanpajul Nature Park 
  8. El Mirador Del Rey Canek Viewpoint
  9. Playa Chechenal Peten
  10. Yaxha Ruins
  11. Kayak, SUP or Jetski on the Lake
  12. Crater Azul
  13. ARCAS
  14. 5 Day Jungle Trek to El Mirador
Map of Flores Guatemala

Map of Flores, Guatemala

Okay, in the section I want to just briefly talk about Flores and the surrounding locations. Flores is connected to the mainland by a causeway. San Miguel is across the lake from Flores which I labeled on the map above.

Some of the things to do in Flores and places to stay are located in San Miguel, which means that you first have to take a water taxi to San Miguel from Flores. Just know that Flores is tiny, you can walk the entirety of the island in an hour.

14 Things to do in Flores, Guatemala

Tips to visits Tikal National Park
Museo on Flores lake
Boat Tour around Lake Peten Itza

Take a Boat Tour around Lake Petén Itzá

Of course one of the best things to do in Flores is to take a boat tour around the island. You can just walk up to any of the boat drivers that are waiting at the docks to shuttle people from Flores to San Miguel and ask to take a tour with them.

Tours are priced per hour and not by person. Boat tours around Flores Island should cost 100Q for a half hour or 200Q for one hour. Some of the places that you will get to explore on a boat tour include:

Jorge’s Rope Swing

One of the coolest things to do in Flores is swing Jorge’s Rope Swing. This small bar and restaurant is home to a rope swing and diving platform that offers a unique and refreshing way to experience the lake waters.

The main attraction is the rope swing. Adventurous souls can take a leap into the lake waters below. The surrounding area is dotted with hammocks, which creates a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the scenic views.

This activity in Flores is actually located in San Miguel so you must take a water taxi to get there and it should cost 25Q. Then it will cost another 25Q to enter which comes out to be about $9 including return transportation.

This is perfect way to spend an afternoon geared towards travelers looking for an exhilarating and laid-back adventure on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá.

Rooftop bar in Flores Guatemala

Enjoy Sunset from a Rooftop Bar

What better way to end the evening than at a rooftop bar for sunset. Flores has a couple pretty nice rooftop bars in town to enjoy. Mango’s Rooftop Bar is located on top of Hotel Isla de Flores. The vibes are fun, the seating is comfortable, staff is friendly and drinks are flavorful.

The Sky Bar is another popular rooftop bar in Flores that is closer to the water, has epics views and tasty drinks. An honorable mention is Restaurant San Telmo.

Colorful Flores Guatemala

Shop the Waterfront Popup Shops along the Malecon

Every afternoon the malecon aka boardwalk along the lakeside comes alive with popup stalls full of food and crafts. If you have been aching to try some traditional cuisine, this is a great place to sample the local flavor.

This is also a great place to snag a souvenir to bring home or if you just to be in the middle of the action. The market starts in the afternoon around sunset and goes into the night. This is a popular thing to do in Flores for locals and tourists alike.

on top of a temple in Tikal Guatemala
Exploring ancient Mayan ruins in Tikal

Day Trip to Tikal

No trip to Flores can be complete without an exploring Tikal, Flores is the unofficial gateway to exploring the ruins after all. Situated in the lush Petén rainforest in the northern park of the country, Tikal are remarkable remains of the ancient Mayan civilization.

Encompassing over 575 square kilometers, the park is centered around the iconic archaeological site. The park features towering pyramids, majestic temples, ball courts and ceremonial plazas.

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tikal National Park not only preserves the architectural marvels of the Maya but also showcases the vibrant biodiversity of the surrounding jungle. Think howler monkeys, toucans and the adorable coatis.

Tikal is an hour and a half from Flores and is the most convenient option is to see Tikal is on a tour. All tour agencies in town offer trips to Tikal, so you can book a tour once you’ve arrived or book one online here to get the logistics out of the way. The price will cost the same if you book in person or online.

There are a few different tours to choose from, a sunrise tour, a midday tour or a sunset tour. If you are keen on doing a sunrise or sunset tour, you will need to buy an additional entry ticket for those times on top of the classic entry ticket. You also cannot explore Tikal during these times without a guide.

Here are some top Tikal Tours to check out:

I know there is a bit of confusion when it comes to buying tickets and tours for Tikal which explain everything in complete detail in this post below. Also for a more intimate experience you can book a stay at a hotel inside the park to get an early jump on exploration.

Wander the Ruins of Uaxactún

If you are looking for a less crowded ruin, then look no further than Uaxactùn. Located about an hour north of Tikal, Uaxactùn boasts well-preserved Mayan structures.

The site is renowned for its astronomical observatory, where ancient Mayan astronomers tracked celestial events with remarkable accuracy. Exploring Uaxactùn allows you to marvel at remote pyramids with absolutely no one around.

The lush jungle surroundings and sounds only enhance the mystical atmosphere. The Uaxactùn ruins are best explored on a tour from Flores.

Book a Tour →

Ixpanpajul Nature Park

Ixpanpajul Nature Park is a zip-lining & nature park located about 15 minutes from Flores. Ixpanpajul Nature Park is an ecological haven that offers the perfect blend of adventure and serenity. This where the canopy meets adventure.

Towering treetop walks provide a unique perspective of the vibrant flora and fauna, allowing you to really appreciate the biodiversity of the region. This is what to do in Flores for the adventurous souls, as the park features seven thrilling zip-lines that offer a bird’s-eye view of the canopy.

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Hike to El Mirador Del Rey Canek Viewpoint

Another thing to do in Flores that is actually on San Miguel is to hike up to El Mirador Del Rey Canek Viewpoint.  Ask any of the boat taxi drivers to take you to where the trail starts, they will know where it is.

The  trail takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the top.  Once you make it to the top of El Mirador del Rey Canek, named after a legendary Maya ruler, hikers will be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Lake Petén Itzá, the island of Flores and the surrounding landscapes.

I never personally made it to the top of this viewpoint as it rained all three days that I stayed on San Miguel, but if you are looking for something to do around sunset, the El Mirador Del Rey Canek viewpoint is a great option.

Boat Tour around Lake Peten Itza

Swim at Playa Chechenal Peten

If you are traveling to Flores in the hot, hot season and need a reprieve from heat then head to Playa Chechenal Peten for a swim. This tranquil beach is also located on San Miguel and offers a peaceful escape.

Think sandy shores, swaying palm trees and cool waters.  This is great if you are seeking a quiet day by the water or a scenic spot to enjoy the sunset. You can find its location here on google maps.

Explore Guatemala’s Best Kept Secret the Yaxha Ruins

Another Mayan ruin you can explore near Flores is Yaxha, the third largest ruin in Guatemala, with only Tikal and El Mirador being larger. The expansive complex boasts majestic temples, palace structures and ceremonial ball courts, all surrounded by verdant flora and teeming wildlife.

Climbing the huge pyramids reward visitors with panoramic views of the surrounding lakes and dense canopies, providing a unique perspective on the once-thriving city. The site’s historical significance, coupled with its natural beauty, creates a harmonious blend of cultural exploration and appreciating for Guatemala’s history.

This is one of Guatemala’s best kept secretes and it’s not far from Tikal, which makes it easy to visit both ruins in a day if you hire a private driver. Or you can visit Yaxha and Tikal on a 2-Day Tour like this one.

Book a Yaxha Sunset Tour →

Lake Peten Itza

Kayak, Stand Up Paddle or Jetski the Lake

The most common way to see lake Peten Itza is via boat but there are other ways to experience the lake. You can rent a kayak, rent a stand up paddle board or even a jetski.

Whether leisurely paddling along the shoreline or venturing into hidden coves, this thing to do in Flores offers a peaceful escape. Plus you’ll have access to areas that are difficult to reach any other way!

Kayaks and paddle boards can be rented along the shore and should cost around 70Q-100Q for the whole day or 25Q for an hour. Jet skis will cost a little bit more.

Crater Azul Guatemala

If you need a break from temple hopping then look no further than Guatemala’s Crater Azul. This secluded natural wonder is tucked away in the dense jungle.

It’s possible to get to the blue crater Guatemala by a 4×4 vehicle but it’s more dependable to get here via boat which you can do on a tour. Getting here is part of the fun as there’s tons of birds and wildlife to see.

This pristine crater lake will captivate you with its intense blue hues, reflecting the surrounding greenery like a precious gem nestled in the wilderness. This beautiful cenote is known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and is a must do if you love diving into the unknown.

Book a Tour →

Birds inside the Mayan Hotel in Chichi
Birds inside the Mayan Hotel in Chichi

ARCAS

ARCAS is a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary. If you’ve always wanted to see some of the region’s wildlife, this is a great way to do it.
The center houses endangered animals such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots and jaguarundis. There are also dozens of macaws, parrots and other trafficked birds.

Sadly, the reason that many of these animals can’t be released back into the wild is due to a variety of reasons but the common theme is that they were all involved in the illegal wildlife trade. You can even volunteer at the center, which you can find more information about here.

5 Day Jungle Trek to El Mirador

Finishing off our list of things to do in Flores is the 5 day jungle trek to El Mirador. El Mirador is the largest pyramid complex by volume in the world. This trek in Guatemala takes adventures to Mayan ruins dating back thousands of years.

The journey takes 5 days, 2 days to hike on a mostly flat path to El Mirador, 1 day to explore the complex, and 2 days to hike back the way you came. You’ll be camping beneath the starlit canopy, witnessing the sunrise over the ancient ruins and climbing La Danta (one of the largest pyramids in the world), which is something that most travelers to Guatemala don’t get to experience.

I always try to do one trek in each new country that I visit. Joe and I had the El Mirador Trek booked but had to cancel last minute do to some personal issues so unfortunately I didn’t personally get to complete this trek but trust me, I’ll be back to do it one day hopefully soon.

The trek cost 2800Q per person which is about $350 USD. Plus if you want a bi-lingual guide, it will cost another $200 USD. This hike in Guatemala costs more than your average tour but is something not to miss if you love hiking and adventure. Treks to El Mirador can be booked once you’ve arrived in Flores at any of the local tour agencies.

If money is no issue, you can book a helicopter ride to these secluded ruins instead. I can only imagine how amazing it is to see the jungle and El Mirador from the sky.

Book a Helicopter Tour to El Mirador →

Colorful Door in Flores Guatemala
Im Jess Traveling in Flores Guatemala

Where to Stay in Flores Guatemala

The first place I stayed at in Flores wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either so I’m not going to recommend it.  The second time in Flores after spending two nights in Tikal at Jaguar Inn for New Years I stayed at Los Amigos Hostel and I can see why it’s one of the most popular places to stay in Flores.

If I were to visit Flores again and booked my accommodations in advance, this is where I would stay.

Eating brunch and Maple & Cocino<br>
Brunch in Guatemala

Restaurants in Flores Guatemala

The restaurants in Flores don’t compare to the outstanding restaurants in Antigua but here are a few that I enjoyed.

  • Teengo’s – Cheap tacos and plate lunches.
  • Restaurants Tipico Imperio – Great views and decent vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Maple y Tocino – Amazing brunch spot right on the water.  This was my favorite place to eat in Flores.  Must try the waffle breakfast sandwich, fresh donuts & avocado toast.  Plus coffee ☕️.
  • Captain Tortuga’s – Nice spot on the waterfront, perfect for drinks at sunset.
  • Casa Blanca – Lovely views from this lakeside restaurant.
  • Maracuya – Traditional Guatemalan cuisine and cocktails on the lake.
Boats on Lake Peten

How to Get to Flores Guatemala

Getting to Flores is usually a long, sweaty, bumpy journey via bus. Tourist shuttles to Flores are frequent and leave from all major towns in Guatemala.

This is a long and exhausting ride but the most economical option.

How to get to Flores from Guatemala City? If you are traveling from Guatemala City and don’t want to take a bus, you can fly domestically to Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS) in Flores. This is the quickest option and also the most expensive choice.

If you’d like to read more about my experience traveling to Flores via bus, check out the article below.

🛵 Read Next: How to Get to Flores, Guatemala (coming soon)

Boat Tour around Lake Peten Itza
exploring Flores

Best Time to Visit Flores Guatemala

The best time to visit Flores is during the dry season, which typically runs from November to April. The weather is drier, with sunny days and lower humidity. This season is much more comfortable for hiking and exploring Tikal.

Dry season also coincides with busy season so if you want a less crowded experience, the shoulder months of November or April are best for visiting Flores.

Flores Guatemala Travel Vlog

Would you rather see what visiting Flores is like? Joe and I spent 7 weeks in Guatemala and 1 of those weeks we were in the Peten region.  We filmed a couple vlogs while we were here about the best things to do in Flores and about visiting Tikal.

Check them out after you read this post and please subscribe or give us a thumbs up. It doesn’t cost you anything and really helps us be able to continue creating free content for you to enjoy 🙂.

Im Jess Traveling in the ocean in El Paredon
Mayan person in the Chichicastenango Market

Onward Travel from Flores Guatemala

  • Journey southeast to Lanquin to see one of Guatemala’s most beautiful natural wonders – Semuc Champey.
  • Head east and cross the border to Belize to explore San Ignacio.
  • Hit the beaches of Caye Caulker, Belize
  • Travel east to Rio Dulce – a picturesque river area surrounded by dense rainforest.
  • Fly to Guatemala City and travel an hour to Antigua for a taste of colonial charm.
  • Traveling west, you’ll find Lake Atitlan, surrounded by volcanoes and indigenous villages.
  • Cross the border into Honduras to explore the ancient Maya ruins of Copán.
  • Head north into Mexico to explore pristine beaches.

I spent 7 weeks traveling all around Guatemala.  Check out the guides below for inspiration and help in planning your trip.

Guatemala Travel Tips

📍Plan your Trip:

🗺 How long to travel Guatemala? 1-3 Week Guatemala Itinerary

🛺 How to Get Around:

  • Guatego for shuttles throughout the country
  • Uber or tuk tuks for shorter distances

🛂 Visas: Up to 90 Days on arrival for most countries.

☔️ Best Time to Visit: Dry season which typically spans from late November to early April.

💰 Average Daily Budget: Expect to pay 50-60 USD’s a day for basic accommodations, sit down meals and entrance fees.

⛺️ Guatemala Accommodation Guides:

🪂 Highlights

🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Guatemala

🎥 Watch our Guatemala Series on YouTube

📧 Get on my Email list to see what I’m up to and all the best travel content!

More Guatemala Travel Guides ↓

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