Update: United’s staff travel desk says a flight doesn’t exist between Guatemala City and Flores, so I’ve decided to wait to do this. Now that Memorial Day weekend is coming up, I’m planning a bigger trip!
I haven’t gone on any trips in nearly two months and have been wanting to return to Central America after fun trips last year to Belize and Honduras. And it’s so close and cheap that I’m wondering why I haven’t done any weekend trips already. Hopefully that will change soon with a trip to Tikal in Guatemala. Tikal has a ton of Mayan ruins.
My first option is to fly into Guatemala City on Friday, but the flight times don’t work out very well. First flight departs at 9:42am, which is a little too early. The second flight departs at 7:33pm arriving 9:27pm, but that’s too late to catch a bus to Flores after going through security and transiting to downtown.
My next option is flying into Belize City on Friday. The last flights leaves at 1:54pm arriving at 3:23pm. This is late enough that I can probably take a half day at work without using up a vacation day. From Belize City, I can take Tropic Air to Flores departing 4:40pma and arriving 5:15pm. Tropic Air operates some pretty small airplanes, which means they fly pretty low over the rain forest.
A friend living in Caye Caulker told me about Tropic Air and their airline employee discounts. I wasn’t aware of these since they don’t have interline agreements with United Airlines. $10 to fly from Belize City to Caye Caulker is a great deal considering these flights are around $70 and just the taxi to the dock and water taxi to the island itself cost more. Since flights to Flores are usually around $130, it may be about twice as much or $20. I’ll also have to pay exit taxes since I’m leaving Belize, which come out to around $33.
And if I can’t get on a plane to Flores, I’ll just try to get a ride to Caye Caulker for a relaxing weekend or just fly right back to Houston.
- IAH -> BZE : 1:54pm - 3:23pm : $0
- BZE -> FRS : 4:40pm – 5:15pm : ~$53
This gets me into Flores with time to find a hostel, get dinner and make arrangements for Tikal. Early Saturday morning I’ll take the bus to Tikal and hang out most of the day before returning back to Flores.
On the return trip, I’ll try leaving from Guatemala, so I don’t have to pay the departure taxes for both Belize as well. A flight marketed by TACA but operated by AVIATECA SA flies from Flores (FRS) to Guatemala City (GUA). AVIATECA SA doesn’t support eTickets, which means I have to request a paper ticket. This isn’t a big deal…just requires more advanced planning .If the flight was flown by TACA International, I could purchase an eTicket in a few minutes. Anyways the flight departs 8:05am arriving 9:10am and should cost me about $33 plus some taxes.
Once I get to Guatemala City, I’ll have a few hours to kill until my flight back to Houston. Fortunately there is a COPA Club, which I can access via my United Club membership. The return flight from Guatemala City comes out to $43.10.
- FRS -> GUA : 8:05am – 9:10am : $33 + taxes
- GUA -> IAH : 12:28pm – 4:29pm : $43.10
If getting out of Flores via Guatemala City doesn’t work out, I can also try leaving via Belize City on Tropic Air.
- FRS -> BZE : 8:30am – 9:15am : ~$53
- BZE -> IAH : 11:14am – 2:51pm : ~$43
That comes out to about $130 in airefare for a short weekend trip to Tikal!