Thursday, August 11, 2022

How To Travel Around Guatemala

North AmericaGuatemalaHow To Travel Around Guatemala

Read next

By bus

It’s hard to miss the brightly coloured buses that fill the streets of Guatemala’s big cities and highways. These are chicken buses, or camionetas in Spanish, and are a common mode of transport for Guatemalans and an adventure for tourists. They are much cheaper than tourist buses or taxis and are usually very crowded, with three people squeezing into seats barely big enough for two children and others standing in the aisles.

The buses are often second-hand North American school buses with the logos “Blue Bird” and “Ford”. In addition to the driver, there is usually a conductor in the door – these people are often very rude and can even be dangerous if you tell them something you don’t like (e.g. turn down the volume of their subwoofers, which is often used in nightclubs). The driver collects the fare and occasionally jumps out to steer the bus through a blind intersection or sharp curve. On highways, chicken bus drivers are aggressive and do not hesitate to overtake in oncoming traffic. Driving these buses on the steep roads of the western highlands is particularly gruelling, but it is perhaps the most typical Guatemalan experience. It should be mentioned that many people are regularly killed in these harrowing experiences when these buses collide with other vehicles, fly into a ravine or overturn and spin around on the highway, dismantling the bus and serving as a blender and crusher for the passengers inside.

Bus drivers sometimes charge foreign tourists more than the usual fare. If you look at what other travellers pay, you can usually avoid this problem. By sending a message to the Guatemalan tourist office Inguat [www], you inform them about this problem.

You can get on a Chicken Bus almost anywhere along its route. When you reach out, it stops. You get on and find a place to sit or stand. Once the bus has started, the driver comes back to you to collect your ticket. You need to know where your stop is and get to the door in time. You ask the bus to stop more or less where you want to get off.

Bus robberies are similarly common on the highway, in the countryside and in the capital itself. Usually several people, one or more in the front, middle and back of the bus stand up, draw their weapons and announce a robbery, or simply a group of people – or even children – surround you and demand your belongings. Sometimes this is part of the bus drivers’ routine, sometimes the drivers even organise these robberies.

By air

Regular domestic flights are only operated between Guatemala City and Flores by Transportes Aereos Guatemaltecos and Avianca Guatemala (formerly Taca Regional).


Guatemala City has a local trolley service for tourists.

By train

There is a rail network, but with the exception of an occasional steam transport for tourist groups, no trains have been running since 2007, neither in freight nor in passenger traffic.

How To Travel To Guatemala

By air Guatemala's main airport, La Aurora International Airport (IATA: GUA), is located in Guatemala City. International flights come mainly from other Central American countries, the USA, Mexico, Colombia and Spain. The airport recently underwent a modernising reconstruction. Today it is a glass and concrete building with modern shops and...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Guatemala

The following nationalities do not require a visa to visit Guatemala: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Russia, Singapore,...

Destinations in Guatemala

Regions in Guatemala Central HighlandsThis region is home to the capital of Guatemala and at least one active volcano.Western HighlandsThis region is by far the most beautiful part of Guatemala and includes many indigenous Mayan villages. Lake Atitlan is also in this region, as are at least two active volcanoes.Eastern...

Weather & Climate in Guatemala

Guatemala has a varied climate. Most parts of the country are hot (between 80 and 90 , depending on the season and location), with post-meridian thunderstorms usually moderating the heat somewhat. In the Altos, the mountainous region, the weather is generally a little cooler, varying between 70 ...

Things To See in Guatemala

The Mayan ruins are the country's main attractions and the most notable are El Mirador, perhaps the cradle of Mayan civilisation, and Tikal. Volcanoes Guatemala has many volcanoes, many of which are over 3,000 metres high. Volcán de Pacaya (2500m) - this is an active volcano located about 30 minutes from Antigua....

Things To Do in Guatemala

Guatemala is rich in natural beauty and travel opportunities. It is a country that offers so much for those who are willing to get off the beaten track for a while. Antigua Guatemala is often referred to as a hub for travellers, a picture-perfect ruined city in Central America surrounded...

Food & Drinks in Guatemala

Food in Guatemala Typical food : Kaq IkPepiánJocomQuichomTortillas and tortillas de harina. Corn tortillas are served with most meals.Frijoles negros - stewed black beansCaldos - Beef brothsTamales - steamed maize flour with various toppings, wrapped in banana leaves.Rice and beans (Garifunafood in Puerto Barrios)Tapado, ceviche and other fish dishesChurrascos The typical breakfast...

Money & Shopping in Guatemala

Currency The local currency is the quetzal, named after the national bird, whose connotations are still ancient and mythical today. One US dollar is equivalent to 7.61 quetzals. US dollars are widely accepted and can be exchanged in most small towns. ATMs can be found in larger towns, but don't...

Festivals & Holidays in Guatemala

The Guatemalan Labour Code recognises the following dates as public holidays with paid leave: 1 January: New YearMarch / April Thursday, Friday and Saturday: Easter, Holy Week1 May: International Labour Day, known as "Workers' Day".30 June: Armed Forces Day15 September: Independence Day20 October: Revolution Day1 November: All Saints' Day24 December:...

Internet & Communications in Guatemala

Phone The international telephone code for Guatemala is 502. There is no area code. All telephone numbers have eight digits. On 18 September 2004, the telephone system was changed from seven to eight digits, and there is a system for adding certain digits to the beginning of seven-digit numbers (description...

Language & Phrasebook in Guatemala

Spanish is the official language of Guatemala and the most widely spoken language. More than twenty indigenous languages are still spoken throughout the country, but many Maya have at least a basic knowledge of Spanish, except in the most remote areas. For the Garifuna of Livingston, Garifuna and English...

Culture Of Guatemala

Guatemala City is home to many of the country's libraries and museums, including the National Archives, the National Library and the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, which has an extensive collection of Mayan artefacts. There are also private museums such as the Ixchel, which focuses on textiles, and the...

History Of Guatemala

Pre-Columbian The earliest evidence of human settlement in Guatemala dates back to at least 12,000 BC. Sites dating back to 6500 BC have been discovered at Quiché in the central highlands and at Sipacate, Escuintla, on the central Pacific coast. Archaeologists divide Mesoamerica's pre-Columbian history into a pre-Classical period (2000...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Guatemala

Stay Safe in Guatemala Guatemala has one of the highest violent crime rates in the world. Travellers should take extra precautions while in Guatemala. If you are assaulted, robbed or approached by armed persons, cooperate. Do not make any sudden movements or hand over any items or money that are...



South America


North America

Most Popular