Arrival in Guatemala

busWhen you get to Guatemala City, the Aurora airport (which is being renovated, but the biggest part of the work is finished), you have several options to get to your first destination. We will start with more comfortable forms of transportation ( but a little more expensive). If you go to Antigua, usually a shuttle bus will be available until late at night and it will cost you $10. The journey takes about an hour if traffic is light. For any route whether to a hotel or bus station, take a taxi.

In general, taxis at the airport are safe, the only problem is that they have no taximeter, so the price will be a little dependent on the client. In all cases a trip to the center should not cost you more than $15. Now , if you want a reputable taxi equipped with a taximeter, it will call a “taxi amarillo” ( all yellow ) or “taxi verde” (all green). You can recognize them in addition to their color because of the rectangular billboard they have on the roof, and the company name on the door. These are the best taxis. There are two ways to get one at the airport. The first is to climb the stairs at the starting area, and expect to find some there. The second way is to call the station, but you have to master some Spanish.

Once in the taxi, you go to your hotel or to a bus station. If you go to Quetzaltenango , it is recommended to take the bus company Alamo. There is a bus approximately every 2 hours, and it costs 14$. The trip takes in the best of cases 4 hours. But expect a 5 or 6-hour drive if you travel during the day, since a wide stretch of road GuateXela is in expansion phase and the work will continue for a good year (at least). The other companies going to Xela are Linea Dorada and Fuente del Norte.

You can also take the bus if you go to Lake Atitlan. Just ask the driver to let you in “Los Encuentros ” (a cross ), and from there take a bus (second class) or same at Solola Panajachel. For a first class service to Atitlan, you must go through a travel agency, found all over Antigua, Xela, Flores or any other tourist place. If you really want a shuttle, you can use Adrenalina Tour or Plus Travel Agency, which have a door to door service.

If you go to Flores and Tikal, we ask you to take Linea Dorada (more expensive) or Fuente del Norte. For Puerto Barrios and Rio Dulce it is Litegua.

If you are looking for the minimum of comfort, the lowest prices and the worst drivers, take a second class bus. You should not take this type of bus for more than 2 hours, but every one travel the way they choose. But it is better to take a taxi and tell him to leave you at the shell gas station near Alamo bus. This huge avenue pass all second class buses going west : Antigua, Chimaltenango, Encuentros, Panajachel, Xela, San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Quiché, … many choices. To give you an idea, the estimated costs to Xela Guate is $3 and the advantage, because drivers do not respect anything, it is that you will pass all traffic jams left or right, but do not complain if you’re on a 3 seat :)

Guatemala City

There may be full of stuff to see in this city, but in most cases people do not stay there long. Some people have undergone armed robbery shortly after their arrival (at dusk in a quiet little street), it it better to spend as little time as possible whenever you have to be there. Try the Spring Hotel (8 Av 12-65 Zona 1), a nice hotel and not too expensive. For a hearty breakfast, go to Panaderia San Martin (Zona 10), facing which one finds Tre Fratelli, a good Italian restaurant. In general in this area you will find something decent to eat, buy or go out, and it’s pretty safe .

Quetzaltenango

Quetzaltenango, or Xela (short for Xelajú ) is the largest city in the Altiplano. It is a quiet town, ideal for learning Spanish or voluntary work. If this second option tempts you, visit Entremundos, an association that has a database of all volunteer opportunities. In cafes downtown, you can find a free map of Xela. We will not begin to describe all hotel restaurants and Xela, tour guides will do a better job, we’ll just recommend two to three things to do in and around Xela.

At Xela the bus Terminal Xela second class is called “Minerva” and is located to the west, near a large shopping center called “Pradera Xela” or simply “La Pradera”. You will also find cinemas around. The bus terminal leave for all the surrounding villages, but also for cities like San Marcos, Coatepeque, Mazatenango, Guate, Huehuetenango. For lovers of Swiss cuisine, the restaurant “Panorama” on the south hillside serves fondue, Berner Röschti and mulled wine! A cheap hotel with bathroom: Pension Andina near the center.

For those who enjoy walking, be aware that agencies (eg Quetzaltrekkers ) offer multi-day tours such as Nebaj, Todos Santos or Xela – Atitlan.