Rather than stay in Flores as is most common, we chose to stay in El Remate while visiting Tikal and Lago de Petén Itzá. Little more than a dirt road with a series of lakeside accommodations, El Remate is well off the tourist trail. Even better, the lake is absolutely magnificent there, tranquil and seemingly untouched by man.
We arrived at night after a day-long journey from Lanquín. We’d left El Retiro at 8:00 a.m. in a shuttle, picked up a bunch of other tourists in Cobán (17 of us total), and finally arrived at Flores (or rather Santa Elena, the grimy city on the outskirts of Flores, where the main road is) around 6:00 p.m., just as the sun was getting ready to set. From there we found transportation to El Remate, which was another hour up the road. By the time we arrived — by tuk-tuk, no less! — it was well after dark.
The following morning I woke up early and sprung out to the lakeshore, which was covered in a thick fog. The water was emerald green in the fog, and the sun shone faintly along the eastern horizon.
Even better, there was a dock that extended far out into the lake, a few inches beneath the water. You could walk out into the midst of the lake and feel the warmth of the water on your feet without fully submerging yourself.
We stayed in El Remate for three nights — one night at Casa de Doña Tonita, which had the best dock (e.g., the photos here), and then two nights at Mon Ami, a more comfortable accommodation a few minutes’ walk down the road with bungalows and a restaurant.
Despite bypassing it initially, we returned to Flores one afternoon and enjoyed our visit. I wouldn’t want to stay in Flores for an extended period of time, but much like Antigua, it’s comfortable, clean, and colonial, if much smaller and hotter. There are lots of restaurants, bars, and hotels, plus tuk-tuks everywhere, cobblestone streets, and brightly painted buildings.
From El Remate we were only about a half-hour from Tikal, which made the sunrise tour easier because Flores is another hour away. When we weren’t off touring Tikal or Flores, we were enjoying the lake itself, Lago de Petén Itzá. Each day we would spend our afternoon out on the dock, swimming in the lake, lying in the sun, and talking with whomever else would be doing the same. Then after sunset, we’d return to our hotels for dinner and drinks.
There were amazing sunsets, for El Remate is on the eastern shore of the lake while the sun sets in the west, directly into the water.
Here’s another of those sunset photos.
View the entire El Remate gallery.