Guatemala
San Miguel

Here you’ll find travel reports about San Miguel. Discover travel destinations in Guatemala of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

46 travelers at this place:

  • Day297

    Fantástico Flores

    May 22 in Guatemala

    We caught the red-eye flight from Guatemala City to Flores, only because it was the cheapest on offer, and we didn't have enough time to travel by Bus through the central areas of Guatemala. Staying near to the airport in Guatemala City made the early start a little easier, so did the lift to the airport by our Airbnb host. Considering the flight is only an hour, this gave us extra time to spend in Flores town before heading on tours to some of the nearby Mayan ruins. Fortunately, the short, domestic flight didn't mean a washing machine with a propeller. It did include one passenger that obviously had really important messages to send via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger before the flight. And we mean on the tarmac. We thought he was about to conference call as we sped along the runaway, and only as the nose of the plane lifted off the ground did he decide to turn his phone onto flight mode. Airline staff seemed un-phased.

    We landed in Flores a little after seven in the morning and were dropped off at the hotel by around 8:30am, giving the entire day to explore the island in the middle of Lake Peten Itza. In a similar style to other colonial towns, the brightly-coloured houses contrasted with the surrounding, clear, blue lake. A small bridge connects the old colonial town with the mainland suburb of Santa Elena. The island was the last remaining Mayan state before the invasion of the Spanish Conquistadors, who robbed the indigenous people of their land and claimed it for the Spanish crown. The area continued to be under Mayan leadership until 1697 when the Spanish attacked and destroyed the settlement, driving many indigenous to take refuge in the jungle for many years. The island is so small that it takes only a few minutes to walk from one side to the other. In the three days that we stayed on the island, there probably wasn't a street or lane that we didn't traverse.

    Next stop: Mexico City (via Tikal and Yaxhá)

    For video footage, see:
    https://youtu.be/ejtzcQUGAXA
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  • Day21

    Flores & Tikal, Guatemala

    January 21, 2015 in Guatemala

    We zijn op Flores. Op Flores zelf is eigenlijk niet zo veel te doen. We zijn hier omdat je vanaf hier het makkelijkst naar Tikal kan gaan. Tikal is een oude stad van de Maya's. De Maya's hebben hier prachtige huizen, tempels en piramides gebouwd. Stuk voor stuk astrologische en rekenkundige wonderen. Het was indrukwekkend om te zien wat ze vroeger al konden maken en hoe groot de gebouwen zijn. Wel een beetje jammer om te horen dat er in de Maya kalender geen doomsday bestaat en dat ze geen koppen afhakte om naar beneden te gooien ( film Apocalypto ). De stad is helemaal overwoekerd door de jungle, nadat de Maya's het hebben verlaten. We hebben dus naast de ruines ook apen en bijzondere vogels gezien! Next stop Belize - Caye Caulker.Read more

  • Day116

    Flores, Guatemala

    February 10, 2017 in Guatemala

    Temples, toilets and the mother of all rope swings.

    Flores is another tiny island, located on the inland Guatemalan lake, Lago Peten Itza. It's accessed by a small and heavily trafficked causeway, or by tiny wooden boats. It's a balanced mix of local culture and tourism, yet to be completely overwhelmed by extraterrestrial wealth.

    For us, Flores was the launching point for a day trip to the Mayan Ruins at Tikal. Tikal once was the central hub for thousands of square kilometers of Mayan communities, hosting temples, palaces and towering pyramids. Today, the ruins lie half buried deep in the forest, partially exposed and restored for archaeology and tourism. We opted for a guided tour in english (read: spanglish...you have to speak spanish to understand their english). It departed the hostel at a brutal 4.30am in order to get out to Tikal as the park opened, ahead of the crowds.

    The ruins were impressive; giant limestone structures emerging sporadically from the lush green canopy of the Tikal Forest. Large areas of ruins had been restored and cleared of vegetation allowing us to envisage life in the Mayan era. Unfortunately for me, I was suffering a hefty case of the runny bum, which made for some uncomfortable occasions, many in fact, between the van ride each way and four hours on foot. Thankfully, the park had numerous baños, freshly cleaned for the start of the day. A stroke of luck I won't forget!

    We also witnessed a variety of wildlife including the long billed Tucan, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, hideous turkeys and a few other shrub dwelling mammals I will never remember the name of. Quite the zoo!

    By 11am we were starting to battle fatigue and the intense heat and humidity the jungle turned on. We retired back to our accomodation (hostel Yaxha) for a nap (or a run if your name is Scott or Mike) and another toilet break. It only took a moments contemplation to decide to dine at Burger King for a late western lunch and some AC. Muy bien!

    During this time Cat did some research and lined us up the perfect afternoon activity. We dawdled down to the lake front (not far at all) and for once openly recieved an offer for transport on a river boat. Our destination: Jorges rope swing. A spot of hestiation saw the price drop from $3 to $2 each, return. Jorge is about as ancient as the morning's ruins. He lives on the lakeside in a respectable house only accessible by boat. He's set up a giant rope swing and a diving board beside a viewing platform and terrace, all of which sit up on the hill a few metres above the lake. I admire his business prowess. It's about $2 entry for the swing and he offers a variety of marked up beverages, while his wife provides some local cuisine to the hungry swimmer. The whole site faces west, perfectly presented to the setting sun. We swung, swum, dived and drank the afternoon away before our captain returned to ferry us back to Flores under the dwindling twilight. Not a bad arvo at all.

    We're still largely on the mexican food. Tacos and burritos on offer at every turn. Thanks to Scott's sniffer and appetite for the sweet treat, we've found some great bakerys - or more commonly, road side bakers - and treated ourselves to doughnuts and whopping slices of cake. Dinner varies from $3 - $8 depending where you get it and your appetite for the runny bum. Accomo at hostels is usually around $10-12 for a respectable joint. The cost of transport and tours is where the dollars go, so we have to choose wisely for them especially when we're on the move as much as we are.

    I'm writing this one on my phone in the back of a van that makes Pauline's '87 Mitsubitshi Sportpac look new (no offense mum, I know you loved that car). I've almost got Cat on my lap, and from the looks of the row behind I'm about to have vomit on my shoulder. AC and seat padding? Maybe in a decade or two. Looking forward to completing the eight hour trip and a dip in the pool in Lanquin. Travelling really is a two sided coin.
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  • Day3

    Flores - Tikal

    April 26 in Guatemala

    Von Palenque aus gibt es zwei verschiedene Touren nach Flores, Guatemala. Einmal über La Ceibo(Dauer ca. 6 Stunden) und über Frontera Corozal. Bei letzterer überquert man die Grenze auf einem Boot (Dauer ca. 9 Stunden). Angeblich ist letztere schöner. Wir fanden es einfach nur sehr, sehr lang.

    Wenn möglich sollte man in Flores selbst übernachten - eine kleine Insel im See, die mit einem Steg mit dem Festland verbunden ist. Empfehlen können wir auf jeden Fall das Hostel "Los Amigos". Super schöner Innenhof und hilfsbereites Personal. Wer mag kann im Maple&Tocine bei einem leckeren Frappucino die Aussicht auf den See genießen. Günstige und leckere Cocktails findet man an jeder Ecke. Abends öffnen dann kleine Straßenimbisse mit günstigen und leckeren Burritos und Tacos.
    Tagsüber kann man sich ein Kanu mieten oder mit einer Lancha zum "Jorge's Rope Swing" fahren. Das ist eine hübsche Badestelle mit einem Tarzanseil, Sprungbrett, Restaurant und wahnsinns Aussicht. War für uns ein super gelungener Nachmittag.

    Flores ist außerdem der beste Ausgangspunkt um die nahe gelegene Mayastätte Tikal zu besuchen. Wir haben uns für eine Early-Bird-Tour entschieden, da es in der Früh noch nicht ganz so heiß ist.
    Um 4:30 Uhr wird man am Hostel von einem Shuttel abgeholt. Die Fahrt nach Tikal dauert etwa 1,5h. Am Eingang angekommen muss sich jeder sein Ticket kaufen, dafür wird ein Pass oder eine ID benötigt (sollte man das veegessen, kommt man trotzdem rein). Nach dem Ticketschalter fährt man mit dem Minibus nochmal ca. 20min, hier startet die Tour.
    Die Tour wird in Spanisch und Englisch angeboten. Unser Guide "Carlos" hat sehr gutes Englisch gesprochen und wir haben von ihm viel über die Mayakultur gelernt. Während der Tour gibt es auch ein paar Pausen zum alleinigen Erkunden der Ruinen. Die Tour endet nach ca.4h am Templo IV mit einer super Aussicht über Tikal und den Dschungel. Anschließend kann man die übrigen Ruinen auf eigene Faust erkunden. Vorsicht man könnte sich verlaufen...
    Rückfahrten finden um 11:00, 12:30 und 15:00 Uhr statt.
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  • Day267

    A 5 hour bus ride took us from Belize City to Flores. This is a cute little island on Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala. It is dense and filled with charming buildings. Mostly catered to tourist, but we found a hidden gem-- local street food stalls on Saturday night! 3 tostada, 1 burrito frito, 2 limonada for under $3 bucks! Fresh and delicious!

  • Day172

    Flores

    July 24, 2017 in Guatemala

    Flores was super fun because of the arrival of five familiar faces 😃

    When the girls arrived from Belize I was SO happy to finally see them. It was hilarious because I ran up to hug them but there was a man in front of them slowly walking on crutches and I couldn't help but laugh, although it probably seemed like i was laughing at him.

    We caught up over a few drinks and some food and headed to bed pretty early, because we had to get up at 2.30am the next day for Tikal.

    Tikal is an old Mayan site of temples and ruins. We got there for around 5am after a huge pilava over whether we needed our passports for entry or not - too much stress for that early in the morning.

    When we got there we watched the sunrise but because it was overcast it was not that spectacular. We then had a 4-hr tour around the site which included climbing up to the top of the temples and seeing some of the wildlife in the area (monkeys, tarantulas, etc).

    This was good but we were very tired and hadn't eaten anything. By the time the tour finished at 10am we had been awake and eaten nothing for nearly 8 hours and were starving - breakfast was guuurd.

    We went back to the hostel and had a nap, played cards and generally just caught up which was so nice. We got pizzas and salads to share in the evening and had a few drinks which was fun.

    We're headed to Semuc Champey in the morning and I'm really looking forward to that. So nice to have the girls here for the next two or so weeks 😃 let the good times roll.
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  • Day2

    Nap Time

    April 10 in Guatemala

    Success! At least for the most part. Landed in Guatemala city around 6.40pm, made our way to 3 ATM machines in the airport - none worked. Used our little US cash to get the taxi to drop us at the Linea Dorado bus station, because apparently public transportation, especially after dark, is a no-no. Used a credit card to purchase our bus tickets leaving for 9pm. Again, no ATMs to be found, not that I felt very good about looking for one. Guate is known for it's pickpocketers and purse-snatchers, so having no cash on us was A-OK with me!

    Took a mini walk 2 blocks down from the bus station and randomly stumbled upon a street filled with vendors! Found a guy that accepted our 2USD and he made us our first of likely many tortillas. The bus ride itself was thankfully entirely uneventful. Mostly consisted of me bitterly watching Jack sleep like a baby. I'm am still amazed, to this day, at her sleeping abilities.

    The thing with night buses - we arrived at 5.45am. Not much open at 5.45am. Not much at all. We got to Santa Elena which was what we booked for our bus, and the driver started going down the isle yelling "Flores! Flores!". Having to wake up (well Jack at least) and gather our things at 5.45am on a random side street only for the two white girls to get out of the bus alerted our spidey senses! Thankfully a white dude joined us in wanting to continue to Flores, and there was a lovely tourist van waiting for us to get in. Turns out it was included in the price of the ticket to get us to Flores, a little island, but the big bus couldn't go on the bridge. Apparently sometimes you can trust the people! The sun was out, so we set out to explore Flores at 6am!

    Within 1.5 hours we had circled the island and made our way into it's town Centre. Turns out - planning a full day to explores Flores was not needed. Flores is a miniature island, connected to Santa Elena by a bridge / causeway. Santa Elena is a huge town and yet our travel book (and a friend's wise advice) says there's nothing interesting there, all traveller's stay on Flores. Which is hilarious if you look at a map. Flores is tiny! Not even a kilometer in diameter. But beautiful colors everywhere, every building has it's own unique look, people have been very welcoming and nice. There's water all around us (obviously, it's an island) with beautiful green hills on the mainland. It's just very clearly a construction made for tourists. Considering how pretty it is, I'm ok with that!

    Tired from the long journey over, and hungry, we set our eyes for breakfast and a bed. I ate more then half! I call that a success for a second meal somewhere strange! See that's the thing with central America - the countries tend to be very similar, so this all seems familiar. I don't feel entirely lost. So I get to eat!

    Find a bed that will allow us to check in at 8am - check. Nap - check for Jack. I again watched her sleep bitterly - with what seemed to be palpitations but would likely kill. Maybe this isn't as familiar as I thought.

    After a well deserved 2.5 hour nap (we're on vacation!) we set out to wonder around town. And then found ourselves on a boat taxi heading to San Miguel. Then hiking to a view point were I was winded and sweaty by the end. Then wondered around trails to make our way back. Then boat taxi back - which this time around was half the price of our way over. Trick - always get on a boat with locals. Don't ask the price. Look at what others hand over and either give the same, or if you can't tell hand a bill over and put your hand out expending change. This way you look like you know what it should cost, even though you have no clue.

    Our Steripen's first day out! We filled our water bottle in the sink at the hotel. Steripen'ed it. Finished the bottle along our hike, found a random hose spraying into the street. Filled our water bottle again and Steripen'ed it. We'll see by tomorrow if any of this is a good idea, but so far I feel like it's my best purchase yet!

    I sign off, while I enjoy a Frappuccino - like a grown up with money! Jack is justifying our lavish spending as a birthday gift for herself - I think we can afford the 4$ drink!

    Oh ya, it's Jack's birthday. Woop Woop!
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  • Day13

    Tikal - City of echoes

    September 16, 2017 in Guatemala

    Nachdem wir vorgestern Abend im wunderschönen Guatemala angekommen sind und erstmal einen Tag etwas entspannter in Flores de Peten verbracht haben (übrigens ein supertolles Hostel ist das Hostel los amigos, in dem man sich wie im Dschungel fühlt, ein Huhn und ein Hase sind auch an Bord), ging es heute 4.30 zu einer der größten Maya Stätten überhaupt. In diesem Gebiet haben wohl ca. 700 n.Chr. bis zu 150.000 Menschen gewohnt. Die Stätte ist inmitten des Dschungels gelegen bedeutet City of echoes, da man bei fast allen Tempeln durch klatschen in die Hände ein Echo hört, das sich anhört wie der Nationalvogel von Guatemala: der Quetzal - sehr cool.
    Auf der Hinfahrt mussten wir durch einige Dörfer und haben dort neben vielen lokalen Eindrücken auch ein Huhn "mitgenommen" ;( Für den Fahrer war es wohl nichts besonderes und so ging es ohne Blick nach hinten weiter...da bekommt das Wort chicken buses doch nochmal eine ganz andere Bedeutung :/
    Aber dafür haben wir in dem wunderschönen Nationalpark viele andere Tiere, von Affen (unter anderem eine Affenart, die durch ihr 4km lautes Gebrüll das zweitlauteste Tier auf der Welt ist), über Tukane bis Taranteln :D wir haben viel über die hochentwickelte Kultur gelernt, z.B. über den Maya Kalender, auf dem unser heutiger Kalender basiert oder die Opferrituale für die 21 Götter. Nach der Rückkehr in Flores ging es noch einmal zum Straßenstand, wo locals burritos und co für ca. 1,50 verkaufen.

    Mein bisheriger Eindruck von Guatemala ist super. Mir gefällt die grüne Oase und die Freundlichkeit der Guatemalteken sehr gut. Außerdem können viele kein Englisch, sodass die Anwendung von spanisch hier an der Tagesordnung steht :)

    Neu gesichtete Tiere: Affen, Tukan, Tarantel, viele Käfer und Spinnen, Nasenbär

    Xoxo
    Cloud
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  • Day18

    Flores

    October 28, 2017 in Guatemala

    Ein süßes und ruhiges touristisches Städtchen, Ausgangspunkt für Ausflüge in die umliegenden Tempel, als Halbinsel in einem idyllischen See gelegen, ist diese Stadt früher oder später dem Untergang geweiht. Aufgrund städtebaulicher Fehlplanung senkt sich die Stadt in ihrem Nordwesten immer weiter ab, so mancher Landungssteg ist schon verschwunden, die Straßen überflutet, die ersten Häuser werden in einigen Jahren folgen.Read more

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San Miguel

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