a VirtualTourist member from Singapore
Hi all, three of us are planning to take a bus from Guatemala City to Tikal in Jan 2009 and are wondering about the questions below:
1. How much is the bus ride and how many hours is it? Is it necessary to travel back on the same day if we buy a return ticket? Where can we get the bus in GC?
2. We're thinking of staying in Flores. If we do that, how many days should we factor in for Tikal + Flores? How many days is Tikal good for?
3. We hope to spend one night in Tikal, how much are rentals for the hammock and mosquito net? Is it safe enough?
4. Which hotels are best in Flores?
5. Most importantly, how is the weather like at Tikal in January?
Would anyone be able to offer advice on these questions?
Thanks a lot!!!
1. Sorry, not much info on this except that it will be a long bus ride and that a round trip ticket will not likely be necessary. Tickets are easy to book at both ends with either bus or mini van service.
2. I would plan one night for Flores to sort out your plans, wander around, buy food and your Tikal postcards. Head to the park the next day (bus is about4.00) and get the late afternoon entry ($20) that will allow you entrance the next day as well (I think entry was at 3 p.m.) Then stay the night at Tikal and hit the ruins the next day. Catch one of the later vans back to Flores. Stay the night and leave in the morning for your next destination. So three nights should suffice.
3. I had my own mosquito net and hammock so not sure on price but the camp was safe and no one messed with any of the things that I left in camp while exploring. If you have your own gear it was4.00 to camp. There is a campground host that wanders the area and you will have neighbors. Just cary your valuables in a small pack with you during the day. A word on food and costs – if you are on a budget bring food from Flores because things are expensive at the restaurant (for Guatemala) but they do have cold beer and food available if you don't mind spending a little cash.
4. There are a lot of good hotels in Flores. I just wandered around and ended up at the cheapest I could find - the hotel Doña Goya - clean and nice enough place with friendly staff -3.50 for a dorm bed.
5. I was there in the end of January last year and it was foggy and humid in the mornings with one spurt of heavy rain (really nice, moody wander around the ruins) and cleared to blazing hot sun in the afternoons. The best bird watching was early in the morning - do NOT miss it even for rain – loads of toucans, etc. – so at least bring a poncho and some shoes you don't mind getting wet. My suggestion, if you are reasonably fit and like walking, is to get in at 3 p.m. the first day and get a feel for the layout of the place and catch sunset and if you are lucky moonrise. The next morning do a full walk around the circuit early in the morning only looking for birds then in the late morning when the birds go into hiding start your tour of the ruins themselves. You won't be disappointed!
1. The price depends. You can pay more for the old Linea Dorada buses or less for those of the newer ones at Autobuses del Norte. Your tickets can be for different days. Any taxi driver can take you to the right station in Guatemala City, but bus departures are usually one in the morning at 10 and 1-2 at night at 9 and 10 PM. The ride is around 8 hours. If you go in the day, have a couple of books to read handy.
2. Time spent in Flores depends. Tikal can take you a full day or two, epending on your interest. The city itself is pleasant, and north of it by regular short boat rides is San Miguel, which isn't even on my map, from which you can explore another, though lesser Classic Maya site. Yaxha is also an impressive site to see by day trip
3. Last I saw, the hammock and mosquito nets at Jaguar Inn were7 per night.
4. My favorite hotel in Flores is the Santana. Be sure to get a lake view. The sunsets can be gorgeous if the clouds agree.
5. Weather in January there can be cool, especially if you are sleeping in a hammock in the jungle. In a room, you probably won't notice it.
Thanks for your answers, guys! Am wondering too if Jaguar Inn's campsite will be very packed in early January? Because we plan to reach Jaguar inn afternoon of 6 Jan.