Best Restaurants for Backpackers in Flores, Guatemala
The island of Flores on Lake Peten Itza is a top destination for those traveling to Guatemala. Especially for those wanting to see the majestic, lost world of Tikal, an ancient Mayan city, deep in the jungle. The island is located about 1 1/2 hours from Tikal, so most travelers use it as their starting point by booking tours to the Mayan city directly from Flores. You can walk around the entire island in roughly 15 minutes, and it’s not overly packed with people like other tourist destinations. You can spend a few days relaxing on your balcony overlooking the lake, walking around the quaint stone streets, hiking through Tikal, and eating your heart out. Even though it’s Guatemala, the prices on Flores can be high for most budget travelers, so here are some quick tips for the best restaurants for backpackers in Flores, Guatemala.
Dona Goya Cafe & Bar
This is the most perfect place to have breakfast in Flores. Surprisingly breakfast is not all that cheap on the island. You’ll get the most bang for your buck here. They have a large menu, ranging from typical Guatemalan breakfasts to more Western style sandwiches, pancakes, etc., and each breakfast comes with complimentary coffee (+refill!), fresh orange juice, oatmeal, and small coffee cookies. A breakfast of scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions, plantains, black beans, fresh cheese, fresh crema, homemade corn tortillas, and the complimentary items listed above costs a total of 45 Q ($6 USD). With your breakfast comes a spectacular view of the lake. During the day they offer the ‘meal of the day‘ for 35 Q ($5 USD) and in the evenings you can buy 3 bottles of Gallo beer for only 30 Q ($4 USD.) Located on Calle 15 de Septiembre along the waterfront.
The only 100% vegetarian restaurant on the island, this hippie-style hang out offers incredibly delicious food at cheap prices. Meals here were the cheapest we saw on the entire island. The food is freshly prepared by the owner himself, and there are numerous games for your enjoyment while you wait, such as battleship, jenga, and playing cards. If you want a smoothie or fresh juice in the morning, you can find it here for as little as 10 Q ($1.50 USD) while other places are charging upwards of 30 Q. Specialty dishes such as eggplant with cheese, or avacado past cost as little as 24 and 30 Q. If you’re looking for a big plate of vegetables (surprisingly not a lot of vegetables in most restaurants) you can find it here for only 25 Q, with about 7 different vegetables sauted in soya sauce served with rice. Located on Calle Centro America.
San Telmo Bar & Restaurant
This adorable restaurant is located just up the street from Dona Goya (our #1 pick) along the waterfront on Calle 15 de Septiembre. You have two options for restaurants here. One is to sit downstairs in a funky, vintage style setting, which is open all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Your other option is the 3rd floor Terraza, which is open for dinner and drinks. You’ll have the perfect views of Flores sunsets here, and can sip on the happy hour special of 2 margaritas for 29 Q. They offer a break from traditional Guatemala food with homemade burgers, pastas, and even Thai curries. Some nights they have 2 pastas for 60 Q special. They aim to be the first 100% Organic restaurant on the island, although at the moment they are finding it difficult to source organic food from local farmers. The food is fresh and cooked to order so be patient. Breakfasts start around 30 Q and most vegetarian options for lunch and dinner cost 45 Q. Adding meat or seafood to your order takes you to 55 or 60 Q.
Las Mesitas Street Food
This is the best option for backpackers wanting a cheap dinner. The street food here is open every night, starting in the evenings around 6pm. Here the stalls serve traditional Guatemalan food, consisting of mostly a crispy corn tortilla that you can choose your toppings, ranging from vegetarian pineapple salad to chorizo. The cost is 3 for 5 Q (less than $1 USD). You can top it with hot sauce, guacamole, or pickled onions with habaneros. They serve a variety of homemade baked goods, plantains, taquitos, and drinks. You’ll find all the locals dining here. Grab your plate and sit on the waterfront edge, watching the sunset. Afterwards you can shop from the cheap handicraft stalls that are set up for sale.
Moving on from Flores? Make sure to check out our article on ‘7 Unique Restaurants in Antigua, Guatemala’.