Flight between Guatemala City &Tikal
Flights heading for Tikal leave from both International (TACA and Tikal Airlines) and National (the rest) airports. Departures are commonly early in the morning 6-7am and just over an hour if I remember correctly, which I may not... Return flights are late in the afternoon/early evening 4-6pm. The airport at Tikal is actually a few kilometers outside of Flores, a popular town to stay in during your visit to Tikal. Taxis shuttle passengers between the Flores airport and the town.
We took a TAG flight and paid arround $80US each. It was a small plane, but the service and overall experience was better than some international flights I've been on! We received a small snack and drink, and the seats were really spacious.
Travel agencies in virtually every tourist hotspot sell plane tickets to Tikal. Just shop around for the best deal. Note: The bigger airlines eg TACA are more expensive but have bigger planes.
Van from GUA Antigua Pana to San Cristobal
Yes, you can do it, we did it--very common. You can take a shuttle van (or taxi)from GUA to Antigua, then catch another shuttle van to San Cristobal. It is a long journey (full day) but it is done fairly efficiently. The van drivers help you at the border and turn you over to the next van driver, depending upon destination. When we left Antigua we went to the border in a fully-loaded van, and when we got to the border the rest of the group was headed elsewhere, only myself and my husband were going to San Cristobal, so we had the van all to ourselves.
Just Google "van service San Cristobal to Antigua" or something like that and you will get some hits that go to sites with all the details. Good luck--it's fairly cheap.
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Flying instead of busing
Guatemala City is the largest in the country of Guatemala and a natural transport hub. It serves almost every point in the land by plane or bus. Tikal is a major point of interest but quite far and separated by treacherous terrain. The bus option is long and I presume painful one while the airplane one is fast and enjoyable. 45 min are required to reach destination and the view of changing scenery from the dry, spiked by volcanoes highlands to the verdant, rolling-hill lowlands is breathtaking. There is a point or rather a ridge separating the two eco systems which makes you wonder how sharp the change of conditions and hence natural borders can be.
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The most common mode of transportation in Guatemala, and the cheapest, is the Chicken Bus. These are usually retired school busses from the United States which have been repainted in bright colorful patterns. The term "chicken bus" comes from the fact that local people riding these busses may be carrying chickens or other livestock with them either to or from the market. At peak travel times the busses are often overcrowded with many passengers standing.
Everyone should experience a chicken bus at least once. When it came time for me to travel from Guatemala City to Antigua, about an hour away, I had a taxi take me to the bus terminal. To catch a chicken bus you don't buy a ticket and there is no announced schedule. Just look for a bus that has the name of your destination listed and hop on. When I did so I handed my suitcase to an attendant who quickly threw it on top of the bus and tied it down while yelling for me to get on board. The bus was already moving when I grabbed the rail by the door and swung on.
As we traveled to Antigua the attendant came down the aisle and collected fares, which was well under $2.00 each. The bus stopped often to either let passengers on or off. Our driver relied much more on his horn than on his break. As we rounded steeply graded mountain curves I had to grab my seat and hold on tight to keep from being thrown into the floor. It was a fun ride.
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A handful of companies offer first class bus service connecting Guatemala City with other countries in Central America. I chose Tika Bus when I scheduled a trip from Guatemala City which took me to San Salvador, El Salvador, across Honduras, and ultimately to Managua, Nicaragua and return. Tika Bus serves the capital city of every Central American country except Belize, running from Talapan, in southern Mexico, to Panama City. The buses are modern, clean, air conditioned, and are operated efficiently. I consider their service superior to that of Greyhound in the United States.
Each bus has an onboard restroom which you will probably need because stops are infrequent. Also, the busses show movies en route. Perhaps those who ride the busses frequently appreciate the movies but I considered them a negative because I would have preferred to view the countryside and visit with other passengers instead of sitting with shades drawn watching a movie. Of the six movies shown on my entire trip, all but one was very violent and loud. Most were in Spanish with English subtitles, or vice versa.
The cost of my round trip, traveling a total of 28 hours through four Central American countries was only $90 US. The buses do not run at night but make stops where very reasonably priced hotels are available.
The Guatemala City Tika Bus terminal is located at Boulevard Los Proceres 26-55, Zone 10, local`s 1-2. Fun Plaza.
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Aurora International Airport
Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City is the larger of two international airports which serve the country of Guatemala. The other is at Flores, near the ancient Mayan city of Tikal. I flew into and out of the Aurora airport on Delta Airlines, connecting through Atlanta, Georgia. The flight took about three hours.
There is a $30-US departure tax for all persons flying out of Guatemala. It was included in the price of my Delta ticket. Also there is a security fee of $3-US, or 20 Quatales, which is charged each departing passenger and must be paid in cash.
La Aurora Airport in Guatemala City is served by the following airlines:
Busses in and out the city
Like in every major city in Central America, Guatemala City has lots and lots of different bus terminals. If you want to go in a particular direction you have to find the correct terminal which can cause some problems: taxi's that take you way too far, locals that point you in the completely wrong direction because they don't know it theirselves, and of course the problem that you can't find it when you are on foot.
A good way to solve this in Guatemala City, is not to search for the terminals at all, but to wait for the busses at the main roads out of the city. When you wait at the side of Avenida Diagonal 12, you will see all the busses to Antigua, Lago Atitlan, Chichicastenango and other destinations in that direction passing. Every few minutes a new bus comes by and you can easily stop them by raising your hand. The guy hanging out of the frontdoor with clearly shout his destination and is always more then willing to help you in.
To get to El Salvador you have to look for the Avenida Hincapie that runs right next to the airport. Here you have to look for a bus mentioning "Valle Nuevo".
If you have to go to other directions, you can easily ask the taxidrivers or busdrivers: terminals can be difficult to find, but the directions are never a problem.
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Airport to Antigua
Taxis/shuttle buses wait outside the airport for arriving tourists to be whisked off to Antigua and beyond. We paid approximately $10US for a shuttle bus (taxis are more). The alternative is to take a local bus from the airport to the bus station in Guatemala City and transfer to a bus heading to Antigua (not sure if that is a direct trip) or your desired location. The shuttle bus is much more expensive, but equally more convenient (and possibly safer, especially at night). Make sure to always confirm prices in advance!
Unfortunately my camera was stolen in Antigua, so my pictures of the Guatemala City airport are gone (the rest of my Guatemala photos were taken with my buddy Ryan's camera). La Aurora Airport's code is GUA and this was our arrival and departure point for the country. The airport is only 4 miles from Guatemala City and if you've decided to head straight to Antigua you're only 16 miles away. When you exit the airport, you should be able to catch shuttle buses to the center for a very reasonable price.
How to move around
Whenever possible take a cab. The bus system in quite comedic and very cheap. But these are old school buses from the US and are not the safest rides in the world. The bus drivers, and even some of the passengers, will stuff you onto the bus until you are literally sitting three to a bench or hanging from the windows and doors. It's not uncommon to be sitting next to someone with livestock.
As for driving...don't. If you do, be assertive. The city streets are no place for the timid. During the night traffic is pretty slim but during the day - be alert. Taxis are easy to catch and are probably your best choice.
The only thing more unsettling than trying to drive is trying to cross the street. Pedestrians, as an understood rule, don't have the right-of-way. The joke in Guate is that cars do stop for pedestrians... yeah, they stop right on top of them.
Guatemala City Airport
Althogh many people have warned me before, that entering Guatemala just wit a one-way-ticket could cause me problems or I could even be sent back, I didnt have any problems entering the country.
Just try to be fast at the luggage claims to be first to line up for migration straight afterwards.
When purchasing your plane ticket, ask if the departure tax is included...mine was not and to my surprise I had to pony it up in order to get out....the price is a steep of $30 US....a bit pricey for a 3rd world country but then again that's why they take advantage of the travelers who could afford to visit there country !!!!!
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Lots of mountains, volcanoes...
Lots of mountains, volcanoes and lakes, say you TRAVEL BY AIR!
if the cab driver hear you accent or see your blonde eyes......sorry you're.....(you know!)
the buses are not so good looking...hey and i live in costa rica! it's much to say!
You can walk to most of...
You can walk to most of places, but you may want to take bus. Bus sysrem is pretty easy, cheap and efficient.
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