Flores, Guatemala

Trip Start Jul 07, 2009
Trip End Oct 05, 2009

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Where I stayed
Hotel Mirador del Lago

Flag of Guatemala  ,
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sadly we left Caye Caulker and returned to Belize City, where we caught a four-hour bus ride to Flores, Guatemala. The air-conditioned 'first-class' enormo-bus that we paid for turned out to be a NON-air-conditioned mini bus with room for five people. Wasn't too bad until we added five huge bags plus another four people. First lesson here - you don't necessarily get what you pay for and the grand buses in the pictures really only exist in the bus station posters. Oh well.

We passed easily through immigration and customs (nearly the only place I can understand Spanish and be understood, thanks USBP!) into Guatemala and within the first 10 miles there was a definite difference in landscape. Where Belize was littered and scraggly, Guatemala was tidy and clean. Properties are lined with wood and wire fences and even the humblest houses are devoid of trash and litter. It's easy to see how proud Guatemalans are of their homes and land. As mile stretched into mile we became more and more impressed at the beautiful and clean rolling hills, rain forested mountains, and sprawling farmland. Belize just doesn't compare.

Flores is a small island in the middle of a lake that feels like the old west. Cobblestone streets are narrow and steep and winding. About half of the streets of the entire town were being dug up and replaced with concrete squares, which looks amazing but we couldn't help but sympathize with the construction workers, as all the work was being done by hand.

We found our hotel easily enough and at a rate of $16/night, including private bath, view of the lake, and nasty attitude of dour hotel manager. A bargain! We spent the rest of the day and part of the next exploring Flores and taking care of important business like getting laundry done, exchanging money, and getting information on trips to nearby Tikal. Also took a dip in the lake which was warm but refreshing.

The only disappointing part of Flores is that it's a totally gringo town, meaning it was nearly impossible to find authentic Guatemalan food. We settled on hamburguesas the first night and ceviche the second night. Not too bad but after two days we were ready to push on.

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