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Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

London, United...
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Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

I booked a shuttle with San Juan Travel in Flores to go to Tikal. There were 5 tourists on the bus and the driver picked up a local. This was at about 8am in daylight. About 40k to Tikal we were stopped by masked and armed bandits. (at least 2 rifles, 1 pistol and a machette)

They made the driver drive into the forest off the road where the mini bus could not be seen. They proceeded to rob us. Luckily no one was hurt and thats what insurance is for! However the local the driver picked up dissapeared on an empty bus straight after that wouldn´t take us westerners. The Inguat offical (who was really helpful with the police and cancelling of cards etc) said the only reports of anything happening on that road were to San Juan shuttle buses.

If you want to see Tikal, pay for a full offical tour, rather than use San Juan for the shuttle and buy entrance seperatly. I beleive they are the only company to do shuttles. We did everything by the suppossed book. Recommended agency, daylight, carried limited stuff etc but it still happened so beware!

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

I took a shuttle from Flores to Tikal early am also and had no problem - as I am sure hundreds of other people don't. I would never advise someone to take a "full official tour" instead - that's just ridiculous. "Full official tours" use minivans and small buses and could also be stopped by armed bandits.

Perhaps this is a problem with this shuttle company, I don't know. I see that you live in Flores and this is your first and only post. My question is this: If you live in Flores and you are familiar with a shuttle company that has ongoing problems with this kind of robbery, why did you go with them?

London, United...
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2. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

I don't live in Flores I am a tourist. Maybe you should read the post properly before being so rude in your reply.

1) I pointed out that there was a robbery in daylight on the road to Tikal, so people should be aware this does occur.

2) I stated the tour company was under suspicion from the tourist board and people should use an alternative. As the only robberies have been with that company and they are also the only company to provide shuttles. Others provide full tours, bigger buses, harder to rob.

3) when did I say that I lived in Flores??

4) yes many people don't have a problem and have an enjoyable trip, but that doesn't mean people shouldnt be aware that armed bandits operate in the area during day light hours and then make an informed decision on their trip.

Is making people aware of the dangers such a bad thing? I suggest you read posts properly before posting such aggressive replys.

But thankyou, as if you are from Costa Rica and an example of the friendlyness of people there, then I shall be in 2 minds about visiting!

Bethesda, MD
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3. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

At the time of your original post, it said Flores, not London.

London, United...
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4. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

It asked my location and at the time I was in Flores. My location is not London. Maybe you want to ask TA to change it to say hometown?

The original post was still not read properly before such a harsh response.

I thought Trip advisor was somewhere travellers could advise, warn and recommend places? All I am sensing is backlash, thats very community spirited.

Costa Rica
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5. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

1. My point was -- even if you take a "full official tour," - they still have to get from Flores/Santa Elena by road - probably in a van or minibus. So they run the same risk.

2. Under your screen name, it says your location is Flores. On Trip Advisor this means where you live. If you lived in Flores, the question would be valid.

3. Sorry you took such offense at my post. Also sorry you got held up on the road to Tikal. Not a pleasant thing, for sure.

4. Please don't take my "attitude" as an indication of the friendliness of people in Costa Rica. People in Costa Rica are very friendly and helpful.

By the way - maybe I should ask -- what is a "full official tour?"

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

don't take offense if anyone is harsh to question your critique. It's common, when the person only posts something negative, and they have low post counts. Thanks for the warning, you're not the only one who's mentioned this. It's not just that route. Central America... tourists are easy targets.

NYC
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7. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

What date did this incident happen?

"I thought Trip advisor was somewhere travellers could advise, warn and recommend places?"

and we look forward to hearing some advice and recommendations from you! regarding the rest your trip (and i presume this is your first ever trip).

Thanks

London, United...
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8. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

Thanks DubinNYC - I appreciate it seems bad that my first post was negative but as I didn't see many warnings felt it fair that anyone googling their trip ideas should know robberies still happen. I heard many stories about how safe it was now etc.

It happened on the 11th March 2011. I've traveled around India, Asia, Australia and New Zealand before this trip. I was just looking at some adventure tour sites just now and saw they have advised security has been stepped up in the area which is a positive thing for tourists!

p.s by full tour, I just meant a day trip one that includes the entrance fee and coach and a guide. bigger coaches are harder to rob and drive into the forest, that's what I meant!

Charlotte, North...
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9. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

I've been looking into a daytrip to Tikal from Belize with a different company. It seems like all of the robberies posted on this board were when the traveler was with San Juan travel. Have there been any reports as to whether this is an inside job or does San Juan travel simply do a lot more tours than everyone else? Thanks.

London, United...
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10. Re: Flores - San Juan Travel trip to Tikal - Bandits be aware

might be worth emailing INGUAT (the tourist board) to see if they have any more info on San Juan and the robberies. They were defo investigating them when we got hit.

and interestingly the updated travel advise now states only get on a bus, for the time you booked. 3 of us booked the 6am bus, and it arrived at 7am. They combined the 2 groups with no notification, which makes me suspicious... but the inguat office should help you, they were really helpful!