After the ideas of sunshine forever where put to an end in San ignacio we were morethan pleased to get a private bus to bring us to Flores via Tikal Mayan Ruins.
The drive was actually very pleasant as it was sunny so we passed lots of local villages where most people lived in low rise buildings with washing lines outside. The scenery was very tropical with dense jungle for miles. Once we passed the Belized border into Guatemala the infrastructure definetly changed as the roads were more dirt traks compared to the well tarmaced roads in Belize. However Guatemala is a much poorer countr, this was obvious even in the difference of Visa entry and exit prices.
One of our included activities was to get a group guided tour around the Ancient Mayan ruins ´Tikal´. These ruins have been excavated and are still in the middle of the jungle so quite a journey to get there. We got off the bus and met our guide who showed us a small scale model of the site and showed us what route we would be taking. At no point was i warned (though common sense should have told me) that proper trainers or hiking shoes would have been preferable, so as we began outhike through the jungle pathways to see thr uins i was sliding all over the mud haha! but i survived. The guide was Mayan and hads worked at these ruins for quite a few years. He led us round many of the temples and gave usa brief description of their importance. The ruins were brilliant to be fair and we could climb on some of them to see the surroundings from the top and the layout of the site. In particluar the main square was very impressed as it has been very well excavated. Some of the temples are still entirely covered by dense jungle groth, so if you did not know a temple was there (they know due to overhead mapping etc) you would have no idea they existed. My only downside on this tour was that the guide assumed our group had a good basic knowledge of the Mayan history and culture, and so he was more in depth and was describing the significance of the astronomy links to the layout of the temples etc. I did find this tour interesting but felt that I should have gained more knowledge than i did. I would need to read up on the culture and history of the site more to nfully appreciate what we seen. Though it was very worthwile especially considering the age of the site, and the size of it, and also the detail of the temples and their accurate and well planned positioning. I personally would have liked to hear more about thew human sacrifices etc , but as a large group some peoplefind this kind opf information gruesome so perhaps a smaller more detailed tour may have been better as it is easierto cater for smaller numbers.
After the Tikal ruins and a lovely lunch we made our way to the Lake Island of Flores. Flores (and central america as a whole) is very heavily influenced by Spainish arcitecture. The island is very quaint and easy to walk around within half an hour to an hour. All of the buildings are brightly coloured and built in a colonial spanish style. All of the streets are quite narrow and made of cobble stones. The views from most hotels on the outer path of the island look onto the lake, the surrounding land and another small island straight ahead. The island is surprisingly not flat so the streets are all curved andc winding leading higher to the central plaza which has a garden, a basketball court and some small cafwes to look out over the lake. Our hotel was decent (we were very grateful for some manmade walls and ensuites with space to turn around in the room lol).
Some of the group went to La Maya (i think) for dinner and the resty of us met them afterwarsdsfor some drinks. Then some of us walked to meet some of Becs friends that she had madein a previous hostel in Mexico. They were staying in Los Amigos hostel, which when we arrived seemed closed. However a doorman let us in and led us through the courtyard and through a corridor to an almost secret hostel bar at the back. It was very chilled with quite a Bohemian vibe with a small garden terrace for smoking. It was really nice to chill instead of a mad party nightso we met some people from Sweden and england etc and jusat had some tequilas while playing card games. We went back to the hostel and went to bed, ready for our bus to the next destination the following day!