Guatemala Transportation Guide & Booking Service
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Guatemala Transportation Guide & Booking Service
Travel involves transportation, and choosing the right transportation option can have a big impact on your trip. There are a number of ways to get around, including private transfers, shuttles, rental cars, domestic flights, boats, and public buses. When determining the best option, consider your travel route, timeframe, and budget. You might choose to rent a car for your entire trip or use shuttles, buses, and boats to explore Guatemala. The following guide explains transportation in Guatemala — understanding your options will help ensure a comfortable, efficient and fulfilling trip.
Frequently asked questions
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- Should I rent a car in Guatemala?
Renting a car gives you complete control over your travel plans. But driving in Guatemala can be a challenge, and you should take into account that road conditions may not be what you’re used to. Remember that driving culture is different in Guatemala than back home. Drivers in Guatemala do not follow the same safety precautions as drivers in the U.S. or Europe. Factor in the stress of dealing with reckless drivers before you decide to rent a car.
Guatemala has well-maintained highways in the major cities, but it can be difficult to drive once you leave these behind. If you do decide to take these roads, you’ll want to make sure you rent a vehicle that is suitable for off-roading. Generally speaking, roads that take you to tourist destinations are better maintained and easier to navigate. It is inadvisable to drive on a highway at night.
When you leave the city, make sure you have a full tank of gas. Prices in urban areas are comparable to those in the U.S. (around $2.30/gal), but once you drive into the country the price of gas can increase significantly.
You can easily rent cars in Guatemala City and Antigua. There are also car rentals near Tikal. Avis, Budget, Hertz, National, Thrifty, and Tabarini all operate in Guatemala. It is possible to find one-way car rentals without additional fees. Be prepared to show your driver’s license and passport. Drivers must also present a credit card to make a deposit on the car.
Look into your car insurance policy to see if you’re covered in Guatemala. You may need to purchase additional insurance for your car rental in Guatemala.
P.S. Maintain full coverage during your time in Guatemala – not just when you're driving. Read "Going Abroad? This is Why Travel Insurance is A MUST!" Then, get your personalized quote here.
- What Are the Driving Times Between destinations in Guatemala?
Travel times vary depending on where you are going. Along well-traveled tourist routes, the roads will be better and the travel will be smooth. In more rural areas, the roads may be worse and make the driving take longer. The speed limit is usually 25 mph (40 km/h) in cities and 45 to 50 mph (70 to 80 km/h) outside the cities.The following lists general travel times between Guatemala City and popular destinations: Antigua (40 minutes), Panajachel (1,5 hrs), Chichicastenango (2 hrs), Monterrico (2 hrs), Copan Ruinas, Quetzaltenango (2,5 hrs), Coban (3 hrs), Lanquin (4 hrs), Flores (6,5 hrs), and Tikal (7 hrs).
The following lists the general travel times between Antigua and popular destinations: Guatemala City (40 minutes), Panajachel (1,25 hrs), Chichicastenango (1,5 hrs), Monterrico (1,5 hrs), Quetzaltenango (2,25 hrs), Copan Ruinas (3,5 hrs), Coban (3,5 hrs), Lanquin (4,5 hrs), Flores (7 hrs), and Tikal (7,5 hrs).
The following lists general travel times between Panajachel and popular destinations: Chichicastenango (30 minutes), Quetzaltenango (1,25 hrs), Guatemala City (1,5 hrs), Antigua (1,25 hrs), Monterrico (2,5 hrs), Coban (4 hrs), Copan Ruinas (4,5 hrs), Lanquin (5 hrs), Flores (8 hrs), and Tikal (8,5 hrs).
- What Are The Roads Like in Guatemala?
The roads in Guatemala are in fairly good condition. Over the last few years the Guatemalan government has invested in road construction and infrastructure. Along well-traveled routes, like the highways that go to Lake Atitlán, Petén and Quetzaltenango, the roads are smooth and easy to travel along. The road to Monterrico along the Pacific Coast is good, although the last 12 miles (20 km) are somewhat bumpy.The worst roads are usually in the more remote parts of a department. For example, the roads that go to Semuc Champey or Chichicastenango are fairly bumpy. Roads through small towns may be made of gravel or dirt.
Major highways and tourist destinations typically are well-signed. Outside of popular areas, however, there will be fewer signs and road markers.
- Can I Take Public Buses Around Guatemala?
Yes. Many travelers use buses and shuttle buses to get around in Guatemala. The so-called "chicken buses" operate within and between cities. These buses are painted in bright colors and tend to pack as many people into them as possible. Chicken buses are very inexpensive, but are not always the most comfortable (or safe) way to get around.Tourist shuttle buses run along major tourism routes. These are more expensive, but are also safer and more comfortable than chicken buses.
There are also first-class buses that run between major cities like Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Flores, and Puerto Barrios. These luxury coaches sometimes have restrooms and food service.
Bus travel is a great opton for travelers wth a flexible schedule and tight budget. That said, buses may take longer than other forms of transportation and may also be less comfortable.
- What are the baggage restrictions on domestic flights in Guatemala?
The weight limit on baggage for most domestic flights is 12 kilograms (26.5 lbs.), although the limit for Bocas del Toro is slightly higher at 14 kilograms (30 lbs.). This includes both checked luggage and carry-ons. Passengers are sometimes required to state their body weight as well.
- Is Guatemala Bike Friendly?
- What Destinations Offer Domestic Flights in Guatemala?
Domestic flights are limited in Guatemala. The only regularly scheduled flights are between Guatemala City and Flores. This flight takes about 45 minutes.Improvements are being made to many airports in the country, and it's hoped that more domestic flights will be offered in the future.
Domestic flights are a good option for travelers with a limited timeframe, as they significantly cut down travel time between destinations.
Rental cars can be a wonderful way to explore Guatemala.
With your own wheels, you’ll have the freedom do go where you want, when you want. That allows for a great deal of flexibility and the potential to find lesser-visited Guatemalan gems. However, rental cars are not without their risks, and it’s a good idea to thoroughly think it out before renting one.
Private transportation is a good option for travelers who desire comfort and flexibility while exploring a new country.
These personal shuttles will take you anywhere in Guatemala and can typically accommodate changes in your schedule.
Shared shuttles offer convenient transportation between popular Guatemalan destinations.
The shuttles are comfortable and typically have door-to-door service.
At present, domestic flights within Guatemala are fairly limited.
The only regularly scheduled flights travel between Guatemala City and Flores, with a flight time of about 45 minutes. There are, however, ongoing improvements to many airports around the country – including those at Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, Retalhuleu, and Puerto San José – and it’s hoped that there will be a good network of local flights in the coming years.