165 miles (265 km) south of Tikal, and just a stone's throw from Guatemala's Caribbean coast, Rio Dulce is the perfect spot to break up the long journey from Tikal to Guatemala City or Antigua, and a fascinating destination in its own right. 

The best way to get from Tikal or Flores to Rio Dulce is to drive. It takes around four hours from Flores, and five hours from Tikal. The majority of people choose to stay in Flores and visit Tikal on a day-trip, but if you do spend the night in Tikal then the easiest way to get to Rio Dulce is to take a private car or taxi. You can also rent a car or hop on a shuttle from Flores. There are no local buses.

Alternatively, one of the best ways to explore both Tikal and Rio Dulce is to join a tour like this 5-day Guatemalan Mayan Journey. You can also check out more of our Guatemala itineraries here.

By Private Transfer

Duration: 5 hrs (Tikal) or 4 hrs (Flores)

Taking a private transfer is the quickest and most convenient way to get from Tikal down to Rio Dulce. You will be picked up from your accommodation in Tikal or Flores and dropped right at your door in Rio Dulce.

By Taxi or Rideshare

Duration: 5 hrs (Tikal) or 4 hrs (Flores)

It is also possible to take a taxi or an Uber/Lyft from Tikal or Flores to Rio Dulce. Whilst it can be a little more expensive to go from Tikal itself, it’s worth it for the convenience. Especially when you can do an early morning tour of the temples, you can hop straight in the car and be relaxing on the river by the evening!

Whilst you can sometimes find an Uber/Lyft to take you all the way from Tikal to Rio Dulce, you’re generally better off using ridesharing apps in Flores and bigger cities. Don’t be surprised if multiple drivers cancel your bookings or request a higher price. Try to negotiate them down a little, and if you’re not happy, then make sure you have a plan B.

By Rental Car

Duration: 5 hrs (Tikal) or 4 hrs (Flores)

You can also pick up a rental car in Flores and drive yourself down to Rio Dulce. While it is possible to find one-way rentals from Flores to Guatemala City, this isn’t always possible so you’ll want to confirm this before hitting the highway and then finding out you have to drive all the way back to drop off the car!

It’s a relatively easy drive straight down CA13 from Tikal/Flores down to Rio Dulce. To drive in Guatemala all you need is an international license, but some experience of driving in Central American certainly wouldn’t go amiss!

By Shuttle Bus

Duration: 4-5+ hours (from Flores)

There are several daily shuttles that go from Flores all the way to Rio Dulce, including big comfortable buses with wifi, toilets, and reclining seats, and smaller minibusses. Whichever you choose, you will be picked up at your accommodation in Flores and be dropped off at the bus station in Rio Dulce.

Please note, if you choose to take a big bus then you will be picked up in a minibus or have to make your own way to the bridge in Flores as big buses don’t fit down the island’s tiny streets!


Map of How to Get from Tikal National Park to Rio Dulce
Map of How to Get from Tikal National Park to Rio Dulce