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After spending Christmas with my family in Belize, I ended up in Belize City (again).
I had, previously, stayed in Belize City for 2 nights at the Downtown Bella Sombre. I paid US$45 / night. This was the most expensive hotel that I have stayed in over the past 2 years of travelling. But, in Belize City it is hard to find anything cheaper. It was not worth that price.
The Bella Sombre room, itself, was OK. The hotel is secure and situated in an average area of town.
But you don’t feel safe walking the streets at night.
I had no intention of staying in Belize City again. It was time to head for Guatemala.
BELIZE CITY TO FLORES, GUATEMALA:
You catch the ‘Express Bus’ from Belize City to Flores from outside of the Ocean Ferry Terminal in central Belize City. The price is BZ$50 / US$25.
It leaves at 11am (I believe that there is a 2nd bus that leaves in the afternoon).
It takes 2 hours to get to the Guatemala border. Budget about 1 hour for everyone on the Minivan to clear Belize and Guatemala Immigration. It takes another 1 hour to get to Flores.
For more detail about how to clear Immigration at this border, read my post on Tikal – Guatemala – Day Trip from Belize.
This was a ‘ploy’. A man arrived to organise the transfer of Minivans. It was pouring down with rain, so we had to do it under cover in a petrol station. The man suggested that we all get money at the nearby ATM. Some took the opportunity to, then, purchase goods in the adjacent Supermini.
Once everyone had money, the man proceeded to tout everyone for tickets to Tikal, other attractions, and buses on to Antigua. It was a hard sell … you got the usual ‘the buses are all full and there are only a few tickets left’ story. He sold quite a few tickets.
This whole process took over 1 hour. We didn’t actually get dropped off on Flores Island until nearly 5:00pm. It is a small island and the Minivan dropped everyone off outside their hotel.
FLORES ISLAND OVERVIEW:
Flores is a popular stop off point for people taking trips to Tikal.
MY FLORES ACCOMMODATION:
I had made up a shortlist of possible hotels beforehand and I was keeping an eye on prices. I booked it that same day at a discounted price whilst sitting on the Minivan leaving Belize City. The booking was ‘confirmed’ by BOOKING.COM.
I arrived at the hotel and the man at reception (who, I believe, was the owner) was not expecting me. He had not checked his emails nor his booking system. He found my booking but told me that the room was not available. He showed me a tiny Single Room saying that my Twin Room would be available in the morning. We agreed a discounted rate of GTQ50 for the Single Room. I waited until 11:00am the next morning to move into my Twin Room. The room that he showed me was little different from the room that I had on my first night … it was just a bit larger so that the bedhead could actually be up against the wall.
I declined the room. He said that he had no other rooms available. I checked out.
It was raining hard again. I could only get to see 2-3 hotels without getting soaked. Similar hotels with very ‘average’ rooms wanted GTQ200 / night (US$25).
My last few days in Belize were rainy. It had rained for the last 2 days in Flores.
I decided that it was time to move on to Antigua …
I still had my Tigo SIMcard that I bought on my trip to Livingston & Estor.
I bought a 1 month ‘Mes Social’ pre-paid plan with 1.5GBs of data. The total price including the SIMcard was GTQ166.
My Tigo card didn’t get a signal in Rio Dulce / El Golfete.
But, I had no problem with Tigo in Flores.
There are no beaches in Flores.
This is a lake. But, swimming is possible.
WHERE TO STAY:
You can stay in Flores Town and get cheaper hotel rates. But, why would you?
You come here to experience Flores Island. Flores Island is where you want to stay.
Have a look yourself:
YOUR HEALTH & SAFETY:
There is no reason to feel unsafe here. But, as always, exercise normal levels of caution … don’t make yourself an obvious target.
Petty Theft is common.
Keep an eye on your things and lock up when you leave your hotel room.
EAT & DRINK:
Foodstalls set up on the west coast of Flores Island in the evening. This is where you get ‘cheap eats’.
Otherwise, restaurant prices are inflated … expect to pay at least GTQ60 for a meal.
MONEY / PRICES / SHOPPING:
There is at least one ATM on Flores Island; but, it cannot always be trusted.
It is a short walk across the causeway to more ATMs on the mainland.
Withdrawal limits seem to be GTQ2,000.
My next destination is Antigua.
I only got to see Flores Island for 1 night.
From what I saw, it would be a good and fun place to base yourself for some Tours to places like Tikal and other local attractions.
You wouldn’t want to stay for more than a few days.