Here's some information on how to get to Tikal. By air, Tropic and Maya Island will get you from San Pedro to the international airport where the Tikal flights originate from. They also have overnight packages which include accommodations, meals, park entrance and flights, for around US$250-$280.
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How to Get to Tikal
By Air: Flights arrive in Flores from Belize City and other locales. Tropic (tel. 501-2-45671 or 800-422--3435 in the U.S., www.tropicair.com)
and Maya Island Air (tel. 501-2-31140, www.mayaairways.com)
serve Flores from the international airport in Belize City and offer connections from most parts of Belize. Flights take about 45 minutes. Currently, Tropic Air has flights from Belize City to Flores at 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m, returning at 9:30 and 3:30. Maya Island Air also has two daily flights, departing the international airport at 8:35 a.m. and 2:30 pm., returning at 9:50 and 3:50. Round-trip flights cost about US$165. Overnight packages including accommodations and park entry are around US$250. Tikal Jets (tel. in GuatemalaCity 502-334-5631) also serves the Belize City-Flores route, and Atlantic Airlines, a new Guatemalan airline, has applied to serve the route.
The Tikal ruins are readily accessible by road. The Melchor-Flores highway has been fixed up and is in reasonable shape now; all but about the first 15 miles from Melchor are paved. The road to Tikal from Flores is fine.
By Ground Tour from San Ignacio: Many hotels and tour operators run daily and overnight tours to Tikal from the San Ignacio area. These are fairly expensive, but they make the trip to Tikal painless and worry-free. Prices range from around US$75 to $100 per person for a one-day tour, not including exit fees and taxes. Usually there’s a minimum price regardless of how many people go -- for example, US$300 for up to four person. Chaa Creek, Maya Mountain and Windy Hill and San Ignacio Resort Hotel are among the well-known hotels that do tours to Tikal. For cheaper prices, ask at Eva’s or the Trek Stop. But compare apples with apples: Some tour prices include all charges -- border fees, lunch, guides at Tikal and taxes -- and others do not.
By Bus: The bus to Flores (three hours or more, less than US$3) generally waits at the border on the Guatemala side and then travels into the market area of Melchor, where it waits some more before departing; make sure you get a seat. Minibuses for charter (bargain hard, a 30 quetzales price is good) generally wait just past the immigration.
By Taxi: Taxis on the Guatemala side of the border will take you to Tikal. The price varies. A good price is around US$10 per person, or around US$30 to $40 for a group of three to five.
By Van from Belize City or Chetumal: A Guatemala tour company, Linea Dorada (tel. 502-926-0528 in Flores, e-mail [email protected]
runs dependable daily van service from Chetumal (US$35) and Belize City (US$25) to Flores. Schedules may change, but at present buses leave Belize City’s Marine Terminal at 10 a.m. and return to Belize City from Flores at 5 a.m.. The Linea Dorada bus costs US$6 between Flores and Tikal. In Belize City, ask for Mundo Maya Tourist Transportation at the Marine Terminal on North Front Street near the Swing Bridge. In Chetumal, inquire at the ADO bus terminal, or telephone 52-9-832-7259.
By Rental Car: Most car rental agencies in Belize do not permit their vehicles to be taken into Guatemala. Crystal (international airport and Mile 1 1/2 Northern Hwy., tel. 501-2-31600, fax 2-31900), e-mail [email protected]
and Thrifty (corner Central American Blvd. and Fabers Rd., tel. 501-2-71271, fax 2-71421, e-mail [email protected]
) are two agencies in Belize City that do permit it. Some of the smaller Belize City renters, and Western Auto Rental (Survey St., tel. 501-9-23081) in San Ignacio, may as well. Confirm locally. One problem is that Belize insurance does not cover driving in Guatemala, and, at least as of this writing, it is not possible to get insurance at the Belize-Guatemala border; thus you may have to drive into Guatemala without insurance, at least until you reach Flores where you may be able to get insurance.