We are fresh and clean after showers at Kangaroo hotel. The next day, Gary shuttles us across the river and drops us off near to the bus station. We have arrived early in the hope of getting a seat as the bus is often overcrowded and we don't want to be standing for the three hour journey. However, maybe because it's a Sunday, there are not so many passengers and we manage to get two seats, albeit several rows apart. Only 4 or 5 are standing in the aisle. .
The bus lurches ominously out of Rio Dulce in second gear making noises that are not healthy. The driver repeatedly tries to change up a gear but without success and we roar along at 30 mph in second. . We make an unscheduled stop during which the driver and conductor enter the engine compartment and attempt a repair but without success. We drive off again, the engine roaring , lurching now and then as he attempts a gear change. After a couple of hours we pull up at the road side. The driver has spotted some agricultural workers using a portable welder and he calls them over with their equipment. Half an hour later, we are on our way, the repair is a success and the driver can now crunch his way through all the gears and we arrive in Santa Elena after six hours, three hours behind schedule.
Here we are greeted by a minibus shuttle and the driver tells us that the 10 minutes shuttle to our destination is included in ticket price - it all seems too good to be true but we get aboard with two Germans. We get a bit suspicious when they try to convince us to go to a nearby ATM as those in Flores are not working. However the Germans take up the offer albeit unsuccessfully as the can't withdraw cash.
We are delivered safely to our hotel and it transpires that the operator lays on a free bus in the hope of selling tickets for tours to the new arrivals.
Flores is a clean and safe little town out on Lake Peten, joined to the shore by a short causeway. The buildings are painted in a variety of colours and at night, a row of outdoor eateries is set up along the shore. It has a nice feel very different from the Garafuna feeling of the south.