Undiscovered Charming Colonial Flores

backpacking in central america

A lot of people decide to go backpacking through Central America on the cheap. Most of Central America is definitely more than affordable so it’s immediately attractive to those who have a big desire to get out there and see the world but don’t have the world sized budget to match. Guatemala is almost always on the back packers bucket list as it’s a magical country with mountains, jungles and ancient ruins as well as warm and friendly people. The name Guatemala actually comes from a native  Nahuatl word, Cuauhtēmallān, meaning “place of many trees” and for sure there is jungle in Guatemala!

backpacking in central america

In the midst of the jungle and near to the famous Mayan ruins of Tikal, is the charming colonial town of Flores. Flores is actually on an island and is like an oasis in the Petin Itza lake.

backpacking in central america

Flores is a backpackers dream as there are several great places to stay on the cheap including hostels. Los Amigos is a pretty well known Hostel with a lot of amenities people love like a charming court yard, hammocks, good restaurant, bright colours and a friendly atmosphere.

backpacking in central america

backpacking in central america

You don’t have to stay in a hostel and if you want to live a little larger, you can opt for one of the hotels on the island. There are many family run and boutique hotels and the top prices are $50 to $55 a night. We stayed at the Hotel Isla de Flores and were absolutely charmed with the roof top pool and view of the island.

backpacking in central america

You can travel the whole island on foot in 20 to 30 minutes but more likely you’ll get caught up in browsing the colorful tiendas or stores selling handmade artisan crafts typical of Guatemala.

backpacking in central america

The island is dominated by the church on the hill which really seems like the crowning jewel in the colonial architecture of this island that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

backpacking in central america

Of course the best way to get around on the island is on foot, – but if foot steps are not high on your priority list for the day you’ll love getting a ride in a Tuk Tuk (a kind of auto rickshaw). The drivers are friendly and these rides are super cheap – about 5 Quetzales or roughly 75 cents.

backpacking in central america

We enjoyed the food on the island, especially the typical Guatemalan breakfasts which are hearty and tasty.

backpacking in central america

backpacking in central america

backpacking in central america

There are many charming waterfront restaurants to go to as for lunch or dinner and you can chill with some lunch and beers and watch the backpackers dive off the island dock or you can join them and have your restaurant experience in the twilight when the real charm comes alive.

backpacking in central america

At night the town has a tonne of charm and its own brand of night life. The families are all out visiting on each other’s door steps, sipping their evening drinks by the lake or just jamming. Music is all around and laughter and conversation are everywhere.

backpacking in central america

Your stay in Flores won’t be complete without a tour around the lake. There’s a thatched roof catamaran styled boat that has a Mayan charm that leaves twice a day from the main dock on the west side. We took the 6pm tour and saw the most beautiful sunset and enjoyed listening to our guide narrate the main points of the island history and character.

backpacking in central america

backpacking in central america

We were on Flores for four days and four nights, our intention was for two but when we saw what charm it had and how affordable great dining and great lodging was we decided to stay as longer. I would go back here again in a heartbeat and would be happy to spend several weeks here….perhaps at one of their Spanish Immersion schools? Who knows what the future will bring.

 

 

 

What are your favorite Backpacking Budget, Bucklist destinations?

Metropolette

Metrópolette is the go to guide for women who strive to live a sustainable, but glamorous life in the city. We post lifestyle content ranging from career advice, beauty, how to decorate that tiny apartment, recipes that are easy and quick for you busy go-getters, budget-friendly travel and everything in between.

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