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Charming Flores was my first stop on first Guatemalan visit

The pastel-colored homes and businesses line narrow cobblestone streets supposedly giving a Mediterranean feel to the island but I wouldn't go that far; tourism has plunged due to Covid and that was evident from the deserted streets

The pastel-colored homes and businesses line narrow cobblestone streets supposedly giving a Mediterranean feel to the island but I wouldn't go that far; tourism has plunged due to Covid and that was evident from the deserted streets

It's easy to walk around the entire island of Flores in 15 minutes; the town is the perfect overnight stop prior to an early morning departure to see the Mayan ruins at Tikal, about an hour away

It's easy to walk around the entire island of Flores in 15 minutes; the town is the perfect overnight stop prior to an early morning departure to see the Mayan ruins at Tikal, about an hour away

A causeway was completed in 1961 to connect the island of Flores with the mainland; the population of this remote part of Guatemala has exploded in recent decades from less than 20,000 fifty years ago to 500,000  today

A causeway was completed in 1961 to connect the island of Flores with the mainland; the population of this remote part of Guatemala has exploded in recent decades from less than 20,000 fifty years ago to 500,000+ today

The colonial hotels have been hurt during the pandemic with extended border closures and the imposition by Belize of expensive, required Covid testing to enter and leave; the Belize border is 90 minutes by car whereas Guatemala City is 8 1/2 hrs  away

The colonial hotels have been hurt during the pandemic with extended border closures and the imposition by Belize of expensive, required Covid testing to enter and leave; the Belize border is 90 minutes by car whereas Guatemala City is 8 1/2 hrs+ away

The Museo Santa Barbara, on this tiny island, houses a small museum of Mayan artifacts and is a bird and iguana sanctuary; the museum keeps irregular hours and was closed when we stopped their on our tour of the lake

The Museo Santa Barbara, on this tiny island, houses a small museum of Mayan artifacts and is a bird and iguana sanctuary; the museum keeps irregular hours and was closed when we stopped their on our tour of the lake

Tourism is the lifeblood of Flores but numbers have been drastically reduced during the pandemic; instead of large numbers of Americans, it's more common to see young Europeans spending weeks or months backpacking through Central America

Tourism is the lifeblood of Flores but numbers have been drastically reduced during the pandemic; instead of large numbers of Americans, it's more common to see young Europeans spending weeks or months backpacking through Central America

Lanchas are boats used to ferry people around Lake Peten Itza; we took one for an afternoon tour of the lake which is the third largest in Guatemala, about 38 square miles in area

Lanchas are boats used to ferry people around Lake Peten Itza; we took one for an afternoon tour of the lake which is the third largest in Guatemala, about 38 square miles in area

Flores is the capital of the Petén department, Guatemala's northernmost department (similar to a US state); grocery prices here were more in line with the US and way less than in Belize where the Chinese and Lebanese have a stranglehold on competition

Flores is the capital of the Petén department, Guatemala's northernmost department (similar to a US state); grocery prices here were more in line with the US and way less than in Belize where the Chinese and Lebanese have a stranglehold on competition

The Catedral Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios y San Pablo Itzá occupies the highest point of the island of Flores; it was here, in 1697, that the last independent Maya state held out against the Spanish conquerors

The Catedral Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios y San Pablo Itzá occupies the highest point of the island of Flores; it was here, in 1697, that the last independent Maya state held out against the Spanish conquerors

Male green iguanas develop an orange to orange-red coloring as breeding season approaches with dominant males often retaining that coloring after breeding season too; these large iguanas were a common sight in Guatemala and Belize

Male green iguanas develop an orange to orange-red coloring as breeding season approaches with dominant males often retaining that coloring after breeding season too; these large iguanas were a common sight in Guatemala and Belize

Picocita is a supposed hangover cure; it is cheap Guatemalan beer, a spoonful of salt, a spoonful of chile/chopped onion/vinegar mix, a generous squeeze of lime, a generous squeeze of Worcestershire sauce and a good dose of lime juice topped with a shrimp

Picocita is a supposed hangover cure; it is cheap Guatemalan beer, a spoonful of salt, a spoonful of chile/chopped onion/vinegar mix, a generous squeeze of lime, a generous squeeze of Worcestershire sauce and a good dose of lime juice topped with a shrimp

Lake Peten Itza is an important migratory stop for birds; Guatemala and Belize have had their land dispute regarding the southern half of what is currently Belize presented to the Internationall Court of Justice (Belize is expected to prevail)

Lake Peten Itza is an important migratory stop for birds; Guatemala and Belize have had their land dispute regarding the southern half of what is currently Belize presented to the Internationall Court of Justice (Belize is expected to prevail)

Posted by VagabondCowboy 09:20

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