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The Hideoutnice places to visit and things to do

Entering Guatemala to Flores

December 14th, 2011

From San Ignacio I took a collectivo taxi, which pass in front of the Hi-Et and paid 5 BZD to get to the border. Don’t take a bus since this only takes you to the last town before the border. The exit fee from Belize is 37,50 BZD and will be used for maintaining National Parks, so it feels at least not so bad to loose this money.

On the other side I had to go to the Guatemala Immigration of course, but since that open building can be easily overlooked, I just want to mention it. I actually met a girl who forgot to register there, but by then she already was in Flores. What she did was going to the close by airport and pay a fee/bribe which normally is 200Q. With the help of some tears she was able to get her stamp for 120Q … I wish I could have seen it 😉

As soon as I entered Guatemala people were offering me taxis to Flores, telling me that buses wouldn’t go today. As my guide book told me that this would happen I just ignored them kindly and went across the bridge where the bus station already was. There I already found some other tourists waiting, who told me that the buses are on a strike … ups!

With a couple from Germany (Rahel and Raiko) and a girl from Poland (Sylwia), I shared a taxi for $15 each and we went to Flores … or as far as we could, since we couldn’t enter Santa Elena, which is right before the island of Flores. We found the source of the strike right in front of us. We had to wait for another hour until cars were finally moving and we saw how all the ‘missing’ buses passed us.

My original plan was to go to PoptĂșn directly, which is another 2h south of Flores and although there would have been time I decided to stay in Flores with the new people I met, which was a good idea and I don’t know if you believe in fate or similar things, but for me it also improved my delayed stay in PoptĂșn!

Together we went to the hostel ‘Los Amigos’ in the heart of Flores. For 55Q each we shared a dorm among the four of us. This hostel was one of the hip places to meet up with a lot of people, to chill and have some nice food and drinks.

Since no one had any money of current country we were looking for an ATM. There’s one in Flores, but it denied the access and apologized. So we went over the bridge to Santa Elena to try the next ATM. Inside the new shopping mall we also didn’t succeed and we went on to the city center 200m further. There it was finally possible to withdraw some money, so that we could buy some food to silence our hunger.

San Miguel

One day we took a boat shuttle to a little village called San Miguel, which is just north of Flores. The main attraction is a beautiful view onto Flores from a mirador. I went with Rahel and Raiko on this little trip. On the way we were told several times that it’s a bit dangerous and people, even in little groups, got robbed. So what could we do, we asked. The answer was Mario!

Mario is a friendly guy, who offered us to guide us wherever we wanted to go. We asked how much that would cost us, but he told us that we can decide. In the end we agreed to pay 100Q altogether.

He led us through the forest/jungle and explained a few things. There are also a lot Maya ruins, however not excavated. The way to the mirador is not that clear and you could easily take the wrong turn and find yourself at the beach instead. So with Mario we easily reached the wooden construction in the tree which was the viewpoint.

Afterwards we moved on and were led to the beach. There was no beach sand but the water was very clear and nice to swim. We spent there some time and returned soon afterwards.

Actun Kan Cave

A spontaneous trip was going to the nearby cave, which is around 10 minutes from Flores by Tuk-Tuk. I went there with Sylwia at around 4pm. We could enter this cave without a guide. While Sylwia was equipped with a head lamp I only had my mobile phone’s flash which was quite strong.

We entered the cave deeper and deeper, went through narrow holes and soon lost orientation. Although we had taken a photo from the cave’s map it was useless, since we didn’t know where the entrance/exit was and not even where we actually were. It was very humid inside and my whole shirt was wet from sweating. Soon I just wanted to go back and see day light again. Some parts we climbed were very slippery and I had to slide down when we turned back, hoping that the sliding would stop very soon.

Eventually we found the exit. We didn’t find any Maya paintings as promised by my guide book, but I didn’t care. I was happy to wash my hands and face at a water tap and enjoyed a beer with Sylwia reviewing our adventure :)

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