Santa Elena has several pleasant accommodations along the lakeshore with wonderful views of Flores as well as a variety of less expensive options in the town center.
Among the budget accommodations is Hotel San Juan (2a Calle between 6a and 7a Avenida, tel. 7924-8358), where you’ll find rather plain rooms with saggy mattresses in a large concrete building. Rooms with and without air-conditioning are $20 and $10 d, respectively.
A better choice is the Jaguar Inn (Calzada Virgilio Rodriguez Macal 8-79, tel. 7926-0002, $20), where tastefully decorated rooms are centered around a courtyard and the helpful staff can help you plan your onward travel. Air-conditioning is an extra $5 and there is a small pizzeria on-site. The owners also have a hotel at Tikal National Park by the same name.
Another good budget choice is the Hotel Posada Santander (4a Calle, tel. 7926-0574), where spotless rooms with TV and shared bath go for $10 d. Rooms without TV but with private bath go for the same price. There is no hot water but there is a small restaurant here.
Hotel Continental (6a Avenida, south of Calzada Virgilio Rodriguez Macal, tel. 7926-0095, $10–20 d) offers a variety of prices and corresponding levels of comfort in its 51 rooms. The owners and staff are friendly.
Moving up in price range and correspondingly closer to the lakeshore is Casa Elena de las Flores (Calle Principal, Ingreso a Isla de Flores, tel. 7926-2239, www.hotelcasaelenadelasflores.com , $36 d), where 26 comfortable rooms are set in a pleasant colonial building around a nice swimming pool with palm trees and a garden.
A popular repository for tour groups, the Hotel del Patio (8a Calle, tel. 7926-0104, www.hoteldelpatio.com.gt , $62) is comfortable and offers many services and amenities but has seen better days. Rooms are in a neocolonial building. Those on the first floor are particularly susceptible to mold. There are better deals elsewhere in this price range.
Along the lakeshore, as you approach town from the airport, is the Maya Internacional (tel. 2334-1818 central reservations or 7926-2083 direct, www.villasdeguatemala.com ), with 24 standard rooms and two junior suites ranging in price $70–100. One of the area’s first accommodations, the recently remodeled property features tastefully decorated rooms with balconies overlooking the lake, tiled floors, ceiling fans, air-conditioning, and cable TV. The lodge’s Vista al Lago Restaurant offers gorgeous lake views and a varied menu, including a Sunday brunch. A swimming pool, great service, wireless Internet, and lovely open-air palapa lobby round out the list of features making the Maya Internacional an excellent choice.
Farther along the lakeshore near the causeway connecting Santa Elena to Flores are a number of newer options, including the 62-room Petén Espléndido (tel. 2360-8140, www.petenesplendido.com ), where doubles cost $90 and the feel is that of a U.S. chain hotel with all the usual amenities.
Next door is the curiously named Express by Maya Inn Hotel (tel. 7926-1817), where 20 comfortable if bland rooms go for $40 d and include air-conditioning, cable TV, and somewhat cheerful furnishings. The in-room lighting is fluorescent.
The standout in this part of town is the Hotel Casona del Lago (tel. 7952-8700, www.hotelesdepeten.com , $86–95 d), a beautiful blue house which could just as easily fit in to the seaside landscape of Cape May, New Jersey. The large, bright rooms have spacious bathrooms, tasteful decor and the usual comforts, including cable TV. Some have lake views; all are centered around a pretty swimming pool with a whirlpool. The hotel’s Restaurante Las Ninfas serves varied international cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a pleasant dining room overlooking the pool and lake. The lobby is decorated with classic photos from Petén’s past dating to the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, along with some more modern scenes.