Santa Elena is the working part of the city and houses all the bus stations, banks, and the airport. This makes the island of Flores a nicer city but if you need to get something done, like get money out of an ATM, then you have to cross the bridge.
Malaria Pills and Mosquitoe Repellent
The CDC and WHO both see a risk of malaria in the Peten region of Guatemala, but we didn't see much risk in Flores itself. We skipped the malaria pills and used repellent without any concern during our two week trip in the region. But, then we stayed in an air-conditioned hotel, an important step in avoiding pesty mosquitoes anyway. Most of the Flores Hotels have window a/c units. We found more problems with mosquitoes at Tikal.
Mundo Maya International Airport
Mundo Maya International Airport (FRS) is the only International Airport in Guatemala, aside from the one in Guatemala City. The airport is quite near Flores, located a little more than a mile from the causeway. TACA and TAG airlines have daily flights between Guatemala City and Flores, but are reportedly frequently delayed in either direction. Mayan Island Air and Tropic Air have regular service from Belize City. TACA and Mexicana fly from Cancun. Continental flew from Houston, Texas once a week, but this service is reportedly suspended. There are shuttle vans direct for Tikal from the airport, and many tourists coming through the airport skip Flores altogether in their hurry to get to the ruins. This is a mistake in my view for a number of reasons, but you choose what you want to do.
one of the joys of my trip through central america was the fact that so many children i bumped into were just a happy carefree bunch! it was so refreshing to see kids live this simple life, of just playing outside with an old beaten up ball, just laughing their heads off at my geeky white ass. (ok so i looked like a nerd in my big floppy hat, but hey, i was getting sunburnt, no need to laugh children!).
remember though, if you do approach children to say hi, just be kind of careful. i suppose as a young single female its a bit easier to do, but if you are an old guy the parents of these children might get a bit freaked out (sad but true folks). if you want to take photos of the children, ask for their permission, or their parents, if nearby. i asked these kids if it was ok, and they were more then happy. their mom was nearby, and i pointed the camera at the kids, and she smiled and waved her hand. i bought a coconut to drink from their mom after, so i think she was happy :)