a VirtualTourist member
My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Guatemala and Belize this May.
While we're visiting Tikal/Flores for 3 days, we're interested in staying at La Lancha, but after doing some further research on where it's located and how pricey the add-ons are becoming, we're thinking it might not be the smartest choice. The rooms are beautiful and (for room alone) the right price, but we're wondering the following:
- Getting to/from. We arrive at FLS. Are there cabs or car services to get you to the hotel? La Lancha quoted45+tax.
- Day trips. Is there anything nearby? Trips to Tikal run180+ pp. Travel guides I've read say you can find/arrange van trips for roughly30 pp. Are cabs or car services reachable?
- Location. Are we missing out by not staying in Flores? Reviews say it's lovely, though La Lancha sounds wonderful.
- Travel to Belize City. When we leave, we're heading to Belize City. I thought it might be interesting to take a bus there, since we are flying the rest of the trip. Do San Juan Express and Linea Dorada pick up at the airport? Will we be able to get a reliable cab or car service to get us there so early in the morning?
Your help is greatly appreciated!
You know, I did a VT query for La Lancha and couldn't find it. This must be some kind of resort in the jungle?
Frankly, your boyfriend and you will likely prefer staying right in Flores. It's a very small town. We found economical hotels with views of the lake for twenty bucks a night. Then, it's an easy walk around to any of a number of outstanding--but reasonably priced-- restaurants on this rocky knoll of an island. The van trips to Tikal are like you learned, in the range of30, and they pick you up right at your hotel in the early morning, then return you to your hotel in the evening. Flores tourism thrives on excursions to Tikal, so don't worry.
So, for Tikal and Flores, don't get side tracked by glowing website reviews of high priced all inclusive resorts out in the middle of nowhere. We arrived in Flores by chicken bus from Bethel, on the Mexican-Guatemala border, dog tired at 8pm on X-mas eve without reservations, but very quickly found ideal accommodations at a family run hotel with prices posted on the wall. You can arrange the excursion after you arrive, no problem. You can also take a very nice open boat ride on Lago Peten from Flores without any advanced reservations.
I'd skip the travel guide package for Tikal, and simply bone up on the maps and Lonely Planet descriptions on the plane. Tikal is huge and will take a full day.
I figure that the ride from the airport to town will be the most expensive part of this equation, but maybe there's a minivan for that too...Otherwise visit my pages on Tikal and Flores for more information and plenty of photos.
I forget to answer the part about returning to Belize City. In Santa Elena, the gritty industrial town across the causeway from Flores, there are both a bus station and a minivan "combo" stop. Calculate the length of the ride to Belize City, if you can. If it's 4 hours or less, you can save the most time and money throwing the baggage on the roof and squeezing into the minivan "combo". If it's, say an 8 hr+ bus ride, better book a first-class bus from Santa Elena, which will nevertheless be amazingly cheap compared to any sort of so-called bargain airfare.
You can drag the baggage across the causeway to the buses or combis in Santa Elena, so this also eliminates the need for a shuttle from the hotel. But, there are also these three wheeled motorcycle cabs that can get you around very nicely. Again, see my pages on these places for better orientation. I'd try to spend 3 days in and around Tikal/Flores with another couple days transit to/from Belize City, if possible. You'll need a hotel room with a/c in May.
Thank you for your response!
I apologize for not being more clear - we are flying directly into Flores (FLS) and plan to stay 3 nights in the Flores area, after which we hope to take a bus to Belize City.
My question is specifically on the hotel and someone who may have stayed there. It's a Coppola hotel, not all inclusive, but they offer trips directly from the hotel and it sounds like it's in the jungle: http://www.coppolaresorts.com/lalancha
Our goal for our time there is to see Tikal, spend some time at the lake, and perhaps wander around Flores.
Has anyone been there and have advice on the property itself? It seems quite beautiful and relaxing. What about getting to/from Flores? And how much would a taxi cost from FLS to the hotel?
Your help is greatly appreciated!
I hate to be a pest, but you will be swatting mosquitoes at that jungle lodge, almost certainly. The Flores causeway was built by the Mayans who used Flores as a small city since before the Spanish arrived. Breezes off Lago Peten bring cool relief to those who live there, and you won't have to bother wasting precious time catching shuttles or taxis to/from Flores. You'll be able to walk away from your shoreline hotel and walk the cobbled hilly streets in search of a quality restaurant or boat ramp where you can catch a ride across the lake. In the short time you will be there, you won't be spending too much time in the hotel room, so don't focus too much on the stylized images of pretty hotel rooms. There are very decent rooms with views and a/c available in Flores for 1/2 of that La Lancha place. The trip to Tikal will be20-, think, not including the park entrance fees...
Just wondering, I am planning on a solo trip to Tikal from Cancun in May of this year... what was it like.