Flores is only 65 kilometers away after exiting Tikal National Park, so we had no need to start out early today. The ride was uncomfortably warm, and by the time we reached Flores my riding gear was in full sauna mode. Flores is an island on Largo Petén Itzá, connected by a short causeway to the mainland twin towns of Santa Elena and Santa Benito. The densely packed, colonial, red iron roofed town is an attraction within itself. The immaculately clean, narrow paved and cobbled streets wind you through a labyrinth of colorful eclectic homes, restaurants and shops. It is hard to get lost, but easy to miss your turn and end up circling the island once again. Personalized tinted front windowed tuk-tuks zip in, out and around the neighborhood, with "machismo" character and zest, their ultimate mission to get you to your place of desire in the shortest time possible. Screams and squeals of playing children echo through the narrow lane ways at dusk, and the song and calls of the common long tailed black birds, Great Tailed Grackles, echo throughout the island in the pre dawn hours. Flores kind of reminds me of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, and it is quite charming.
The history behind Flores is quite interesting! In the 13th century the Itza, Guatemalan people of Maya relationship, left their migratory area of the Yucatan (Mexico) returning to their native region (Guatemala) and built a city on on this small island. They called it "City Island", or in Itza, Noh Petén. Surprisingly enough it was here, on this small "City Island", the last of the independent Maya cities, that the Itza held out against the Spanish conquerors. Infact the island was not overthrown until 1697 when the Spanish finally attacked via boats, marched in and destroyed it. The Itzá people who survived the attack fled to the jungle and hid for years. The modern city of Flores rose from the ruins of Noh Petén.