Posted by: Jack | November 30, 2007

Guatemala – Flores to San Pedro

Arriving back in Santa Elena, our first priority was to purchase bus tickets for Guatemala City. Although the trip is only 200-250 miles, the ride takes 8-10 hours. We had hoped to spring for the first class bus which is non-stop but finding it was sold out, ended up with second class tickets. Because of the long ride, the bus leaves late in the evening and our hope was that we could sleep through the night.

It was still early afternoon so we grabbed some lunch and walked across the causeway to Flores. As you can see on this map, Flores is a tiny island (less than ¼ mile across) but it’s packed with tourist accommodations. We took ourselves on a walking tour of the island (only takes about thirty minutes) and ended up in the modest central park seeking shade from the hot sun. Growing bored with that, I took some more time for juggling.

A bit later we moved to a small restaurant on the water for some delicious guacamole, drinks and the sunset. Some time after returning to the bus station in the dark, our bus arrived quite late and everyone packed in. Every seat was full when we departed. Two to three hours and ten to twelve stops later, the isle was also packed with people standing or sitting on little plastic stools. By this time we were really wishing we had been able to take the first class bus.

After ten+ hours, the sun began to rise and we found ourselves just outside of Guatemala city but stuck in traffic. It also seemed that the bus was not doing well after so many hours of continual use as it struggled desperately to make it up some of the larger hills. It was another two hours before we were able to end this horrible experience but it was hard to complain too much seeing as how numerous people had endured the entire night in the isle.

Grabbing a quick beans-and-eggs breakfast at a not-so-sanitary comedor (I don’t understand how a restaurant can operate without running water…or how a restaurant in the middle of the biggest city in the country can fail to have running water), we hopped right onto another bus, this time heading for Panajachel on Lago de Atitlán. This trip was only about 40 miles yet due to traffic and frequent stops, managed to last upwards of four hours.

In Panajachel we went straight to the docks and hopped on a boat for the small town of San Pedro on the other side of the lake. It was a cold and windy day and the enormous lake had some serious chop. Disembarking with bruised tail-bones we were ecstatic to be done with sixteen hours of uncomfortable traveling, during which we had traversed most of the way across the country.

We checked in at the Hotel San Francisco, landing a private room, bathroom and shower with an amazing view of the lake for only $13…for both of us…for three nights. After treating ourselves to some ice cream and much needed showers we happily passed out for the remainder of the afternoon.

Bright blue line on the Progress Map

Next: San Pedro on Lago de Atitlán



  1. […] Next: Flores to San Pedro on Lago de Atitlán […]

  2. Hey cool story, maybe just keep it to facts next time instaed of your boring story leaving me no more knowlagable and wanting 5 minutes of my life back

    • Hey Paul. Sorry that I forced you to read my blog post from six years ago. Let me know if there are other things I can do to not waste your time.

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