8 March 2015
Because it has been and still is raining, most of us decide against a boat ride to the hot springs waterfall but a hardy few go by bus. This means we are able to have a leisurely breakfast in the restaurant overlooking the river. We are hoping the weather clears so that we can enjoy the sunset at Flores. We are also looking forward to the hotel as it reported to be the most luxurious of the trip – it is owned by the local tour company’s mother so we can get a good rate – but it is a short night as we will be getting up very early to get to Tikal while it is cool and uncrowded.
We have Aidan – the same bus driver as yesterday and the big bus that our bags fit inside. It is about 3.5 hours drive through to Flores but we stop after about 2 hours for lunch at a little ecolodge: Hotel Ecologica Finca Ixobel. They make their own bread so hamburgers and sandwiches were popular. I was disappointed with mine because my vege burger was drowned in a thousand island dressing and my fruit smoothie with yoghurt tasted very strong and cheesy.
We arrived in Flores about 4.30pm. The town itself is Santa Elena but Flores is an island, now joined by a causeway, that is the state capital of Peten. It used to be a site of royalty and was one of the last places to be colonised by the Spanish: the huge church was part of stamping their mark on the island. It is in Lake Peten Itza (enchanted waters). Our Hotel Maya International is situated just at the causeway and overlooking the lake.
We have just a few minutes to throw our bags in our rooms before catching a boat, first across to the little village of San Miguel on the nearby peninsula. Legend has it that Cortez left his horse here for safe keeping but the people didn’t know how to look after it and it died, so they build a stone monument in case he came back.
Then we went to another spot and climbed up a hill which is actually a buried archeological site and climbed a platform to a tree at the top to watch the sunset over Flores. Unfortunately it is very rickety and there are lots of locals there as well so we decide to see the sunset on the boat instead. Hugo has a treat in store for us first as the family at the bottom of the hill provide us with fresh coconuts to drink.
We drop some off in Flores to explore but it is mostly tourist hotels and restaurants now, so most head back to enjoy what we can of our nice hotel. A shower and clean clothes, followed by drinks and dinner overlooking the lake – and then an early night as we have to be on the road by 6.00am in the morning.
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Peregrine Adventures Travel Destinations (Comfort and independent tours)
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