Guatemala - 2004

Our original plan called for a southbound flight from Toluca, Mexico, near Mexico City, to Flores Guatemala. A low cloud bank hanging over the Yucatan peninsula and northern Guatemala forced us to divert to Veracruz, Mexico on the gulf of Mexico for two days. From Veracruz we chose to take the lowland southeast route to the west coast side of Mexico and head south for El Salvador and the Ilopango air show. What we did discover is that the west coast of Guatemala is simply littered with small private air strips. We were never out of sight of a welcoming landing site. This strip of land, from the Mexican board, south to  El Salvador is intensely farmed and reminiscent of the mid-west or great central valley in California.   

On our return trip we entered Guatemala  from Honduras, on the Caribbean coast and flew directly to Santa Elena airport in Northern Guatemala, an ex-military airfield with copious cement runways and nearest to Lake Peten Itza, Flores, and the famous Tikal Maya ruins.  


Click on the yellow destination dots to learn more about these locations.
(MGTK) Santa Elana, also know as Flores and Tikal

The northern third of Guatemala is a hilly low lands. Lake Peten Itza is situated in the center of this historically significant Maya region.  Flores is a small town on a tiny island  in the lake and a short taxi ride from the airport.  The island is less than a 15 minute walk around the periphery. It has several good looking small hotels, restaurants, and many boutiques selling local crafts. Of course, there are the ubiquitous Internet Cafes'.

As we walked out of the deserted airport we were approached by a taxi driver and offered his services into Flores. He was extremely helpful in locating an ATM and a pleasant hotel. He also offered to hook us up with a guide and transportation to the Tikal ruins. We took him up on the offer and satisfied that he was legit, pay him the fee he requested. Sure enough he and an excellent  guide showed up the next morning at the agreed upon time.

It is about an hour's drive out to the ruins. The road curves around the lake to the east and passes through several small villages, some of which offer travelers accommodations. 

A lot of work has gone into this National Park. The facilities and trails are in excellent condition. We had a good lunch at one of the restaurants at the park entrance.

We spent a half day and would have better planned a full day..

Lake Peten Itza

The ruins at Tikal are scattered in the jungle. 

   

   

   

   

Guatemalan jungle turkey.

Guatemalan National Tree

(MGGT) Guatemala City
Flores/Tikal Guatemala City La Lima, Honduras Roatan Island, Honduras Copan ruins, Honduras El Salvador Costa Rica Veracruz, Mexico Zihuatanejo, Mexico