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Geography and history is what attracts people to Flores. The town rests on the island that was the location of the last independent Mayan City State of Tayasal. The kingdom of Tayasal held out until 1697, when the Spanish conquered the island by using boats. The modern city of Flores was built on top of these ruins.The city itself is a nice colonial place to visit although most people just stop here on their way to Tikal. It is worth spending a day or two here on your way to Tikal.
The island town of Flores is located in the center of Lake Peten Itza in Peten, the northern area of Guatemala. Flores as a town istelf is small, less than 10 blocks or 2km square. The island town is accessible by a 750 metre causeway connecting nearby Santa Elena.
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Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS) is also known as Flores International Airport. This is a small airport mainly servicing tourist that want to experience Tikal. The airport is located approximately 3kms to the east of Flores, a US$2 taxi ride or 10mins on one of the local buses.
The airport is currently undergoing expansion in order to handle more passengers. Currently most flights are to Guatemala City, Cancun and Belize City and are serviced by TACA or Transportes Aereos Guatemaltecos(TAG). Although there are a few flights to Houston serviced by Continental Express, Puerto Barrios serviced by Inter-Taca, Mérida (Mexico) serviced by Aviateca and San Salvador serviced by Inter-Taca.
Main access by road to Flores/Santa Elena is via Rio Dulce.
To arrive at Flores by bus, travellers will generally need to buy a ticket to the final destination of Santa Elena. The new bus station in Santa Elena is only 2 blocks from the causeway bridge to Flores and is the arrival point for most long distance buses. Currently, Linea Dorado is the only company running buses that travel over the 750m causeway, termating in Flores.
Direct Buses are available from Guatemala City, Puerto Barios and Chiquimula. Buses from Coban or Belize are also available. Schedules can be found at thebusschedule.com.
It is possible to arrange direct transport to Mexico into Palenque. Many travel agencies arrange the trip and make it pretty hassle free. Remember if you take local transport it will be a series of collectivos to a river, then a ferry. The immigration offices are not on the border, have limited hours and be hard to find. If you do not go to the immigration office it is a big fine and lot of paperwork later on the Mexican side. Lastly the collectivos on the Mexican side do not operate late at night.
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With at total geographical size of less than 2km square, the island of Flores is small enough to walk the entire city by foot in under an hour.
Tuk-Tuk taxis are readily available throughout Flores. None of these are metered however, so be sure you negotiate the fare before setting out or you might be in for a nasty surprise. Drivers are familiar with tourists and won´t hesitate to try and charge you tourist prices; a friendly but firm instance on a fair price will usually suffice. Ask at your hotel or hostel for the expected fare to your desitination.
Being such a small town (less than 10 blocks), Flores doesn't have the usual buses and trains to get around. The nearest bus stations are located across the bridge in the town of Santa Elena. Use the bus stations in Santa Elena to catch a bus to nearby attractions.
Decent mountain bikes are available for rent from Backabush Bike Tours on Av Barrios. As at August 2009, these were US$2.00 per hour.
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See also Money Matters
There is only one ATM in the town of Flores. This ATM is a free standing cash machine and is not afilliated or attached to any bank. There are no banks within the town of Flores, however several major banks have branches located a short 15-20 minute walk across the bridge to the town of Santa Elana.
There are two internet cafes with decent speed connections located on Calle La Union and several more scattered throughout the town. The average price is around Q$10.00 per hour. One internet cafe on Calle La Union offers new headsets and connection to Skype. Both have USB ports on all terminals.
See also International Telephone Calls
One internet cafe on Calle La Union offers a fast speed internet connection with Skype installed on all machines. All headsets and microphones are new (Sept 09).
Cheap International Phonecalls are available at several places within Flores. C Principal in Santa Elena also offers reliable connection calls at reasonable rates.
The Flores Post Office is located on Av Barrios and is open Monday to Friday 8am - 4:30pm.
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