10 Best Things To Do In Flores (Guatemala) In 2024

Bradley Williams
Written By:
Bradley Williams
Last Updated:
February 12, 2024
As the closest place to many of Guatemala's most famous Mayan ruins, you're sure to find plenty of awesome things to do in Flores. And here's the best...
Flores Guatemala

When backpacking through Guatemala, one place you really must visit is the charming island of Flores.

Located in the northern end of Guatemala, it’s relatively easy to get to if you're backpacking through the country.

The island has grown increasingly famous in recent years for being close to some of Guatemala's biggest Mayan ruin sites. However, this place has so much more to offer! 

As well as Mayan ruins, there are plenty of things to do in Flores, and it has proved to be the ideal place to stay for people of all ages.

Whether you're looking to relax and enjoy the epic sunsets or you'd prefer an adventure, Flores has something for everyone! 

After spending 2 nights here, here is my go-to guide on what to see and do in Flores...

Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Read more in our Privacy Policy. Learn more about how we create and update content in our Publishing Guidelines.

How to get to and from Flores

The most common method of getting to and from Flores is by minibus! 

If you’re backpacking through Guatemala, then you will use minibuses to get to and from all major cities, as very rarely do they offer bus services.

We took the minibus from Palenque in Mexico and it cost us a grand total of 600 Mexican pesos. From there, we travelled from Flores to Lanquin, which cost us Q100.

These seem to be the going rates and you can get these prices in most tour agencies!

That being said, some will try to rip you off so, like when you visit any country, it’s worth shopping around first to get a good price.

You'll often find that hotels and hostels in Guatemala offer the same price, if not better, than tour agencies.

Just bear in mind that you will be grouped together with passengers who bought their tickets from all kinds of different companies. The actual tour agents themselves don’t operate the buses.

Instead, they get a commission for selling on behalf of the minibus owners.

As such, make sure you check with your tour operator which minibus company you should ask for when you arrive.

All buses pick up and drop off from the same point, which is just over the bridge when you enter Flores. They are not allowed to go any further. To help, the tour companies will pick you up at and drop you off at your hotel in a smaller car (for free).

Read Also: Our Epic Trip Planning Guide

streets of flores

Getting around Flores

The most popular way to get around Flores is simply by walking!

It's not a large town by comparison to others in Central America, so you won't have problems getting around.

However, just keep in mind that lots of the things to do in and around Flores are situated out of the town centre. If you're planning to take tours then your transport will often be included.

If you're looking to visit the sites yourself, then there are some other transport methods that you can use...

Other ways of getting around Flores:

  • Auto-rickshaws - a cheap way to get around
  • Local minibuses - run to surrounding areas, so great for a day trip
  • Boats - these can be used for tours but you'll need to haggle a price!

Where to stay in Flores

Flores isn't particularly big, but that being said, there are plenty of different hotels and guest houses to choose from.

Location is important so far as you are willing to pay a little extra to have a nice view.

We booked into Hotel Villa del Lago which turned out to be a very nice hotel, with great views from the balcony, which made for the ideal spot to work from during the evening.

The rooms are clean, if not a little dated, and the staff are friendly enough.

If you are interested then you can check out the best prices for this hotel on Booking.com.

Here are a few more good value accommodation options for Flores…

  • Budget choice: Casa Maya Itza -This place was booked out when we visited, or else it would have been our choice!
  • Mid-range accommodation: Casa de Grethel - It’s in an excellent location, just over the water in San Miguel, right on the water's edge! They also have dorm rooms available for just $13 a night per person.
  • Luxury hotel: Hotel Casona del Lago - This hotel is set right on the edge of Lake Peten Itza and has fantastic facilities including a swimming pool, hot tub, and bar.

Note: For all of the properties listed above, I’ve included links through to Booking.com. If you click one of these and book through that link, then we get a small commission, at no added cost to you. So thanks ahead of time for helping support our blog! :D I recommend Booking.com as we use them all over the world as they offer the best prices and have the widest range of accommodation almost everywhere.

Read Also: Where To Stay In Flores, Guatemala

10 Best Things To Do In Flores, Guatemala

1. Visit the Tikal Ruins

caz and brad at tikal

It makes sense to start with perhaps the most famous Flores attraction, Tikal Ruins. These ruins are located in Tikal National Park, and are located roughly 1.5 hours from Flores.

These famous Mayan ruins draw in thousands of tourists to the island every single month and it's not hard to see why! 

We took a day tour with a guide and I highly recommend doing this as well as it gives you the opportunity to learn all about this iconic site. They'll show you the best way to get around the ruins, and give you a deep insight into how the temples were built and used daily by the Mayan community.

The site itself is incredibly large, and there are dozens of temples and monuments that have still not been excavated.

Cazzy’s complete guide to the Tikal Mayan ruins answers any more questions you might possibly have; such as how to get there and how much they cost to visit.

We highly recommend heading with this tour, which includes your entrance ticket and transport there and back.

Alternatively you can join this private sunrise tour of Tikal. This all-inclusive tour is a really memorable way of seeing the ruins with nobody else around, and you’ll really get to feel what life was like here all those years ago.

Tikal ruins are located some 64 km north of Flores, and you can find local colectivos heading to the site frequently (if you prefer to go independently).

2. Check out the Uaxactún Ruins

Uaxactún ruins in Flores

The Uaxactún Ruins are less famous than those at Tikal, but even more impressive in some ways.

They haven't been excavated or renovated as much as the ones at Tikal, so they have a much more rugged feel.

Once again, it’s worth getting a guide if you choose to visit, so that you can gain deeper insight into the 8 major sites that have been categorized in Uaxactun.

You can head to the ruins with this private tour, which includes transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle. You’ll also have lunch included as well as your own knowledgeable guide who will teach you everything you need to know about this incredible sight.

You might even want to consider spending a night in one of the guest houses located near to the Tikal ruins. That way, you can visit Tikal one day, enjoy sleeping in the jungle for the night and then explore Uaxactun the next day, which is about 23 km further along.

There are a limited number of properties to choose from, but they are actually surprisingly modern and great quality! I would recommend checking out the listings on Booking.com.

Here's some information about visiting the Uaxactún Ruins for you! 

You can get to Uaxactún Ruins from Flores in just under 2 hours, and if you're already in Tikal then it will take around 30 minutes by car.

3. Enjoy the Sunset from a Rooftop Bar

drinks a sky garden

The first night we arrived in Flores we really weren't too sure what to expect. All we knew was that we were hungry and wanted to find somewhere to grab a drink!

So we headed up to the center of Flores and saw a small bar/restaurant located down near the edge of the lake.

Only once we got to the rooftop bar did we realize how incredible the views are around Flores!

We sat down, ordered a couple of frozen blue Margaritas and watched the sunset.

Simply relaxing with some food and drinks from any one of the bars and restaurants is easily one of the best things to do in Flores. However, that first restaurant proved to be our favorite place to eat here.

If you’re interested in trying it out, it's called Sky Bar Flores and they offer 2-for-1 frozen blue Margaritas for just Q30 between 5pm and 9pm.

They are located on the west side of the island, and are open all days of the week from 11:00am until 1:00am (although they do close a little earlier from Monday until Thursday).

4. Head up to El Mirador Del Rey Canek

If you’re looking for another great way to enjoy the views out over Flores, then you should head up to El Mirador del Rey Canek.

It's located just over the water near to a small village called San Miguel.

The easiest and cheapest way to get here is to catch one of the ferry boats which seem to leave all throughout the day. They stop at docks located all around Flores, so speak to your hostel/hotel owner about the best one to use to get across the water.

The hike up to El Mirador takes maybe 15 to 20 minutes from where you get dropped off, so be sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen (given how hot it can get here).

There’s not too much uphill walking as the actual platform is a sort of tree house building that rises up through the surrounding canopy. It's only small, but you get to enjoy some great views back out over the lake and to Flores.

You can check out the location of El Mirador Del Rey Canek here, where you may also want to visit nearby Tayazal along the way.

5. Have a go on Jorge’s Rope Swing

Whilst on this side of the water, it’s worth heading over to another one of the best things to do in Flores, which is Jorge’s Rope Swing.

It’s good fun and is a simple swing operated by a family who live nearby.

Of course, you can jump from the rope swing and into the water, a great way to cool off on a hot day; especially if you've just come back from El Mirador.

They also have a restaurant and hammocks by the water, so it's a great place to relax and unwind and simply enjoy the peacefulness of the area.

The boat from Flores takes around 30 minutes to reach the island, and we recommend going early in the day as small crowds do form in the afternoon (you’ll sometimes have to queue to use the rope swings!).

It’s important to note that the site is officially open from 9:00am until 7:00pm all days of the week.

6. Sail on over to Museo Santa Barbara

Another place you can sail to when in Flores is the Museo Santa Barbara, which is located on a small island off the Western coast of Flores.

It’s certainly not the largest museum in Central America, but it’s still well worth the visit for the modest collection of artifacts they have on display.

This includes a number of Mayan relics, many dating back almost 2000 years!

Although it’s not as grandiose as other museums, this small island plays host to some of Guatemala’s most treasured findings, with as many as 5,700 pieces on display.

The island also has a small café, and it’s possible to sit and relax here and enjoy the peacefulness of this secluded spot.

Getting there only costs Q10, and you get a ferry that leaves from behind Hotel Santana.

You can see the location of the Museo Santa Barbara here. Keep in mind that the opening hours are from 10:00am until 8:00pm all days of the week.

7. Take a peaceful walk around the Island

cazzy at flores lake

The island of Flores isn't particularly big and you can easily walk around it in as little as 20 minutes. It's a really nice walk, especially on a calm, clear sunny day.

Maybe we were just lucky when we visited Flores, but the weather was impeccable and the early evenings were particularly nice.

The views in this area are breathtaking, so during your trip make sure you leave some time to just wander around the island. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Take your camera, snap some photographs, stick them on Instagram to make your friends back home jealous!

We recommend starting on a loop from the main bridge that connects Flores to the mainland, which makes it impossible to get lost along the way. You can also head up the central hill to visit the small plaza.

8. Go Ziplining in Ixpanpajul Natural Park

If walking round Flores isn't your thing, then here’s something a little more high octane.

In the Ixpanpajul Natural Park you’ll find plenty of activities to get your heart racing.

One of the most popular tours to this park includes ziplining and you can book a half day tour from many of the tour agencies dotted all around Flores. They drive you deep into the jungle, before you come to the various ziplining wires.

We’ve ziplined across a few places now, most notably Vang Vieng, and it’s always good fun!

It’s worth mentioning that there are other things to get up to in Ixpanpajul Park, including hiking and horseback riding.

I recommend speaking to a tour agency to see what’s available as a package deal. Most things in Flores are surprisingly affordable, so you won't have to worry about emptying your wallet! 

You can also visit the park independently without a tour, with the shuttles leaving Flores between 8:00am and 2:00pm daily (you can ask your accommodation provider to help book this for you).

Here's some more information about what else you can get up to in Ixpanpajul Natural Park!

The site is located just 13 km east of Flores island, and in a colectivo it will take around 20 minutes to get to.

9. Take a 5 day Jungle Trek to El Mirador

El Mirador in Flores
Photo credit: Dennis Jarvis via Wikipedia

Though this is something we didn’t get to do when in Flores, I would seriously consider returning one day to do it.

We learned about this epic trekking opportunity from our guide at Tikal park, who has spent years taking guests for 5 day hikes through the jungle to El Mirador.

This Mayan site houses the world’s 8th largest pyramid, called La Danta. It’s worth noting that this is also the largest Mayan Pyramid in the World, so it’s well worth visiting if you wish to fully immerse yourself in Mayan history.

Typical trips last either 5 or 6 days, with 4 days spent walking (2 there and 2 back) with another day spent exploring el Mirador.

If you want to book yourself onto a tour, then many people wait until they arrive in Flores.

However, it's possible to find out more beforehand and start contacting tour agencies which require a minimum number of people before they can take you.

For a better idea of what to expect and how to contact tour operators, I recommend checking out this incredibly in-depth post here.

Another incredibly memorable way of visiting these ruins is by booking an overhead flight tour from Flores. Here you will board your own private helicopter, where you’ll get an unmatchable bird’s eye view of the archaeological site. You’ll also have lunch and drinks included in the experience.

10. Visit Actún Kan Municipal Regional Park

If you're looking for things to do in Flores, then make sure you head to Actún Kan Municipal Regional Park

This park is home to Actún Kan, an impressive cave system that actually connects to Jobitzinaj Cave.

Located just south of Santa Elena, this natural cave has a lot to offer and there are two tour options available; the short tour and the long tour.

The short tour is self-guided so you can wander around and admire the unique geology yourself. Or, you can choose the long tour but be prepared to pay more as you'll need a guide for this option.

If you do prefer having a guide (which of course is useful to learn all about the site), then we recommend heading on this day tour from Flores. You’ll also have your entrance ticket and round-trip private transportation from Flores included too.

No matter which one you choose, you'll get to see stalactites and stalagmites during your time in Actún Cave.

If you're lucky you might get to spot the bats that call this place home too! 

Actún Kan Regional Park is located just a short 15 minute drive south of Flores island, and is open from 8:00am until 5:00pm all days of the week.

Other things to know about Flores, Guatemala

You probably shouldn’t visit the Zoological Park

When researching the best things to do in Flores, one of the things I saw mentioned a few times on other blogs and Tripadvisor was the Zoologico Petencito.

We have mixed views on Zoos and tend to prefer animal sanctuaries that deal with caring for or housing animals that are ill, disabled or unable to live on their own in the wild.

According to descriptions of this zoo, they are supposed to do just this and help get animals ready for lives back in the world.

But upon digging a bit deeper into other people’s reviews, it turns out that conditions here are anything but ideal.

Many animals are caged up in areas far too small and dirty and they seem bored and almost lifeless.

This is a far cry from what we encountered in the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Cambodia, which is my base standard for a great wildlife centre.

As such we decided to give it a miss, and perhaps you should too if you aren't happy to support such zoos.

Getting cash out can be a nightmare

There are two ATMs on Flores island, one of which hardly ever works apparently and the other of which would not work for us on the first night.

In order to get cash out, you will, therefore, need to head out over the bridge towards the Burger King.

Just next to the Burger King is a shopping centre and downstairs on the right is an ATM.

This worked for us the first night, however, when we went to use it again a couple days later it wouldn't work. And neither did 4 other ATMs located further away inland.

Apparently, this is common across all of Guatemala where ATMs almost all stop working for periods of time, either because they run out of cash or for other unexplained reasons.

My point is, when in Guatemala I recommend getting out as much cash as possible whenever you find one that does work.

It also helps to save money as all ATMs have a fixed withdrawal fee, usually around Q31, regardless of how much you withdraw.

Peten sign flres

Flores Travel Tips/FAQ

When is a good time to visit Flores?

Generally, you can visit Flores at any time of year although the weather will change depending on the season!

The best weather often occurs between February-May, although the warmest months tend to be between April-September. If you're heading to Flores in June or September then you'll need to be prepared to encounter plenty of rain too.

How long should you spend in Flores?

We stayed in Flores for 2 nights, but this really wasn't enough time to make the most of what Flores had to offer.

If I could do it again, I’d stay for 4 nights and have plenty of time to see and do all of the things discussed here, and still have chance to relax and unwind a bit more; before heading off on another long minibus ride through Guatemala.

If you’re pressed for time, then I’d recommend 2 nights as a bare minimum, and 3 if you can spare it.

What is a good budget for Flores?

Like many other places in Central America, Flores is very cheap and is the perfect destination for budget backpackers! 

You'll find plenty of fantastic accommodation options that are extremely affordable and the food here is cheap too, especially if you're eating the local dishes.

Although you can splash the cash if you wish, you can easily get by on around $25 per day.

Can you just book a tour for Flores?

You won't find tour options that will show you the whole of Flores, so you're best to just explore the popular sites yourself. However, you will find tours available for specific attractions and these are worth doing.

Examples of these tours include this private sunrise tour of Tikal and this VIP tour of Yaxha

Just keep in mind that you'll find tour operators in Flores who offer other tours, but make sure you always check what's included.

sunset at sky pizza

Where to go after Flores?

As you can see there are tons of fantastic things to do in Flores, and we can guarantee that you won't want to leave.

At least, this was the case for us!

I would love to go back and spend at least a few more nights here, relaxing and enjoying the great views and cocktail deals! Maybe one day...

If you’re feeling a bit worn out from constantly travelling from place to place across Central America, then I highly recommend using Flores as a place to regroup and rest up before moving on.

Then you've got plenty of more adventures waiting for you, as you could head to Antigua, Lake Atitlan, or Semuc Champey!

If you’ve got any more questions about what to do in Flores and how to make the most of your time here, then just let me know in the comments below.

Here's some of our other guides that you might find helpful: 

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
Tinggly badge
Other posts
Country Guides
Destination Guides

Leave a comment

Let us know what you think!