Santa Elena (Guatemala)

Travel Guide Central America Guatemala Santa Elena



Santa Elena is located on the shores of Lake Petén Itzá in the Petén department of Guatemala. It is connected by a causeway to its sister town of Flores (the capital of the Petén department) and the two (together with San Benito) are often referred to as just Flores. It is the location for Mundo Maya International Airport, which is located just outside the town.



Getting There

By Plane

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 3 kilometres to the east of Flores, a US$2 taxi ride or 10 minutes 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 serviced by Aviateca and San Salvador serviced by Inter-Taca.

By Car

Main access by road to Flores/Santa Elena is via Rio Dulce.

By Bus

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



Getting Around

By Public Transport

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.

Use the bus stations in Santa Elena to catch a bus to nearby attractions.




  • Hotel Casa Amelia, Union Street, ☎ +502 7867-5429, e-mail: Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 1PM. Small hotel near the airport with A/C, TV, private bathrooms, internet, and a view of the lake. US$25/$40/$60.
  • Petén Esplendido, very near the causeway to Flores. Expensive (and not worth the price).



Keep Connected


Internet access is widely available. Even most of the more remote areas have some type of internet access available. Many larger areas also have WiFi. All of the Camperos chicken/pizza restaurants (which are numerous) offer free WiFi, as well as many other restaurants and cafes. Some hotels may also offer computer banks with internet access. Just ask and you eventually will find some sort of free access.

If you have a smartphone such as iPhone, Google Android, you just need a local SIM card (roughly Q25) and can start enjoying the prepaid access plans, which generally come in lots of an hour, a day, or a week.


See also International Telephone Calls

Guatemala's emergency phone numbers include 110 (police), 120 (ambulance) and 123 (fire). Guatemala's international calling code is 502. There are no area codes. Phone numbers all have eight digits.

The phone system isn't great, but it works. Tourists can call abroad from call centers, where you pay by the minute. It is also easy to purchase a calling card to use at public pay phones. The phones there do not accept money, so to use a public phone on the street you must purchase a telephone card. Typically, the cost is around 8 quetzals for a 10-min call to North America, and slightly more to Europe. Cell phones are quite cheap and calling overseas through one can get as low as $0.08 a min. If you are planning to stay for a while and plan to use the phone, you should consider buying a cheap prepaid phone. Wireless nation-wide internet access for laptops is also available as a service from some companies. Telefónica has good coverage with their PCMCIA EV-DO cards.


El Correo is the national postal company in Guatemala. It offers a wide range of services, including sending cards and packages both domestically as well as internationally. Most Guatemalan towns have a post office, although your best bet is to send mail from a large city. Service at El Correo is improving, thanks to consultation and assistance from Canada Post. Most post offices open from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Airmail letters to North America and Europe cost from Q6.50 and take a week or two to arrive. High-end hotels can usually send your mail for you, too. Expect packages you send through the Guatemalan mail system to take a very long time to arrive. They usually get there in the end, but it's worth paying extra for recorded delivery (correo registrado). Many stores can ship your purchases for you, for a cost. Valuable items are best sent with private express services. Couriers operating in Guatemala include DHL, UPS, and FedEx. Delivery within two to three business days for a 1-kg package starts at about Q500.


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This is version 2. Last edited at 9:01 on Sep 25, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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