I only traveled from Flores (the closest city to Tikal) to Belize, not the other way around. My companion and I caught a stomach virus in Semuc Champey that set us a few days behind in our plans. We had to skip the ruins and leave on a six-person plane from Flores to Belize City, then hop on a ferry to our final destination, Caye Caulker.
Luckily, because of the hiccup in our plans, we didn't book anything ahead of time. I recommend educating yourself on prices, times, and modes of transportation by researching online and reading up on the Belize and Guatemala Lonely Planet and Rough Guide manuals.
Booking -- and especially paying -- for anything ahead of time is illogical. Transportation is cheap and readily available in any city with heavy visitor traffic. And Tikal is the pinnacle of Guatemalan tourism. Plans in Central America change, whether it's a stomach bug, a broken-down bus, or a beautiful town in which you need to spend a few extra days. Stay flexible.
That said, you have a few options to Belize City to Flores. Linea Dorada/Mundo Maya buses leave from the marine terminal daily at 10 a.m. for $15 U.S. The trip takes about four to five hours. Alternatively, the 30-minute flight costs about $100 U.S., and several planes fly from Flores to Belize City every day.
A friend of mine (an expat I met in Mexico) is going to San Pedro La Laguna to run the flying dog. He has asked me to go down there with him. I have been back in the U.S. for two years now and am going crazy. I would love to go down for six months or so. Is there any advice you can give me? Anything I should know before I go?
First, can I join you? I would love to spend an extended time in Lake Atitlan. Given the chance, I'd opt to live, at least part of the time, in one of the less gringo-laden towns.
Santiago and Santa Cruz both boast unspoiled cultural sites and comparable scenery. However, San Pedro offers the wealth and like-minded travelers, which could make it an appealing place to call home. If I had six months, I would also enroll in one of the many language programs. Travelers told us it's a great way to meet new friends and coordinate volunteer efforts.
The town is tiny and remote, so be prepared for a slow-paced lifestyle. When you arrive, shop around for a place to stay. The hostels boast beautiful views and comfortable amenities for about $2 a night. Many makeshift communities develop among long-term travelers at the hostels, so before you choose a place, take a look at who's checked in.
· Jaunted in Guatemala [Jaunted]