The best way to get to Antigua from Guatemala city is to arrange for a shuttle to pick you up from the airport and take you to your hotel. Antigua is located about 45 minutes from the capital, and a private bus should cost around $7-12 per person.
The chicken bus experience is a must for experiencing Central America! It will be an endearing memory, trust me! They are great. They are all brightly painted with such imagination. They are always packed, and most of the time you might have problems getting a seat. The music on the buses is great! Chicken buses are truly a part of the whole experience of Guatemala!!!
Buses arrive and depart from a large open lot beyond the market, on the town’s west side. Connections with Guatemala City are frequent, and one direct bus daily runs to Panajachel.To reach other highland towns such as Chichicastenango, Quetzaltenango and Huehuetenango, or Panajachel at any other time of day, take one of the frequent buses to Chimaltenango, on the Interamericana, and catch an onward bus from there. Or take a bus heading toward Guatemala City, get off at San Lucas Sacatepéquez and change buses there - this takes a little more time, but it’s a good road, and since you’ll be boarding the bus closer to the capital you’re more likely to get a seat (important if you want to avoid the possibility of standing for several hours).
Buses to outlying villages such as Santa María de Jesús (US$0.25, 30 minutes) and San Antonio Aguas Calientes (US$0.20, 25 minutes) depart from the bus area behind the market. It’s best to make your outward trip early in the morning, returning by midafternoon, as bus services drop off dramatically as late afternoon approaches.
Buses depart from main Bus Terminal behind the Municipal Market.
There will be a sign on the front of the bus indicating its destination(s) and there will usually be someone yelling these out as well.
Here are some abbreviations: Guate = Guatemala City, Xela = Quetzaltenango, Chichi = Chichicastenango, and so on.
Buses generally run from about 6am to 6pm.
It costs about 8Q for an hour and a half ride. Make sure you find out the price of the ride before you pay for it. there will be a man coming around to collect.
to get to/from the following destinations:
Guate(mala City) - Frequent buses about 5.30 to 19.00. Buses run down 7a Calle to Calle Chipilapa before leaving the city. On the way to Antigua get off as you enter the city if the bus says Jocotenango on it. From Guate you can catch buses to Rio Dulce, Flores/Tikal, Copán(Honduras), Cobán and other locations. check my Guate page for more info.
Chimaltenango - take a bus here and exchange as soon as you reach the main hwy (before you get to the Terminal) and catch buses going North on the Panamericana. Cross the footbridge to the other side of the highway. (to Chich, Atitlán, Huehue, Quiché, etc.)
From Chimaltenango you can head northward to these destinations. if you're lucky you'll get a bus going all the way to your destination but if not you please read through the whole thing because it is a multi-stepped process depending on your point of arrival:
Panajachel - direct or change at Los Encuentros (direct bus from Antigua at 7am from Bodegona)
Chichi - direct or change at Los Encuentros
Quiché - direct or change at Chichi
Sacapulas/Nebaj - change at Chichi
San Pedro la Laguna - direct or change at km ?
Xela - direct or change at Cuatro Caminos
Huehue - direct (only with transporte Velasquez) or change at Cuatro Caminos
La Mesilla (border) - direct (w. Velasquez) or change at Huehue
Email me if you have specific questions
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Antigua when you come from Guatemala-City (or wherever in the country) is by Chickenbus. This great way of transportation is used by the majority of the locals and is the best way to experience the real Guatemala.
If you want to take a bus to Antigua you simply have to find the major avenue "Diagonal 12 / Boulevard Liberation" that runs straight through the centre of Guatemala-City. Here the Chickenbusses to all destinations northeast of the capital pass all day long. Every five minutes busses pass with men hanging out of the door screaming "Antigua, Antigua, Antigua". Every few hundred metres there is a busstop where you can jump on and off the busses. Just put out your hand to make sure it stops and you can jump in.
You pay later, when the bus has already left the city. The normal fee for a trip by Chickenbus is about $ 1,- per hour, so a trip to Antigua of about one hour will cost you about 8 Quetzales or 1 dollar.
Tourist Shuttles are available direct from your hotel / street address to these locations and more:
Guatemala City (airports and bus terminals)
Shuttles are significantly more expensive than regular buses but take you basically door-to-door.
Hundreds of Antigua agencies can organize a shuttle.
When you schedule your shuttle service from Antigua to the Guatemala-city airport, make sure you schedule twice as much time than needed! I was told by a shuttle bus agency that I needed just 2 hours in advance for my flight and missed my fight! There were 3 other people on my shuttle bus who missed their flights as well. We got in a terrible traffic jam in Guatemala City and also had to use a detour...later I was told it always happens. So plan much more time before your flight!
I jhave recived very usefull ansewr from "Hedmanalas" bus service. It seems that everything is possible ;) i paste theirs answer below so it can be helpful for everybody ;)
from Antigua Guatemala to Ruins Copan 3:30 am and
6:30 am (duration 6 hours)
The price (one way)
Executive Service: $. 41.00 for person round trip $77.00
Plus Service: $. 53.00 for person one way round trip $ 101.00
bus service from Ruins Copan to Antigua Guatemala at 1:30 pm and
6:00 pm (with 6 hours of duration) make a stop in Guatemala City.
Chicken buses are the most inexpensive way to travel in Guatemala, for example: from Guaetmala city to Huehuetenango (near the Mexican Border) is Q50.00 (about US$6.40) for a 5 hr trip (250 km aprox).
The only advice: always keep your belongings in sight, don't fall asleep and take food and water always with you.
If you inmerse yourself into this adventure, you'll see all the beautiful landscapes Guatemala has to offer!!!
Antigua is well connected to Guatemala city or other towns like Chichicastenango, Solola or Quetzaltenango, by bus. Also there are shuttle buses to the city or the airport, the price of the shuttles is about $20.00.
As I didn’t have a guidebook for Guatemala and because the journey was long and included changes in Guatemala City I decided to book the shuttle service at one of the offices in Flores for the trip between Flores and Antigua. It was 250 quetzales (July 2009).
The bus was supposed to leave Flores at 9.20 but it didn’t arrive until later. In Flores it picked up tourists and then went on to the bus terminal in Santa Elena. In Santa Elena the new passengers were scanned for metal and they had to show their bags before going on the bus. Around 10.15 we left Santa Elena. There were many foreign tourists on the bus, but they all went off in Rio Dulce, except one. At three o’clock we stopped at a restaurant to eat. When we were on the road again a pickup car had an accident and landed on the roof in front of the bus, but luckily the driver of the car could come out of the car himself. An ambulance arrived quickly and then we continued.
At 18.30 we arrived at the small bus terminal of the bus company in Guatemala City. Someone with my name on a sign was waiting and I was taken to a minibus, in which I was the only passenger. It was rush hour and lots of traffic out of Guatemala City. In Antigua the driver wanted to take me to another hotel than the one I had intended to go to, but I didn’t want to so he drove on to Casa Amarilla. It was then eight o’clock and I was happy I had paid for the shuttle. It was good to be driven to the door of the hotel as it was dark and it was good not having to change buses (and probably bus terminals) in Guatemala City in the evening.
THERE ARE MANY CHICKEN BUSES OPERATING TO AND FROM ANTIGUA. THEY WILL TAKE YOU TO DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY (SUCH AS GUATEMALA CITY, PANAJACHEL, QUETZALTENANGO, & MANY MORE PLACES) FOR A SMALL FEE. THE SERVICE TO PANAJACHEL COST Q20
Antigua is about 45min to 1 hr ride from Guatemala City's airport. Shared van is probably the safer more econmical way to get there as the vans leave right from the arrivals level of the airport and will take you directly to a hotel for 10 USD or so..time can vvary based on traffic and or road conditions as there was a rock slide than shut down one lane of the road into Antigua when I was leaving. The Chicken bus is another option but those will take you from the bus stop in Antigua to another bus stop in Guatemala city - one in district 3 the night I tried..yes it is cheaper but then you still may have to haggle with a cab once you arrive in Guatemala city to get to your final destination. The vans are morder passenger vans with seatbelts and comfortable interiors while the chicken buses are retired American school buses that are sold to locals in Guatemala and then rebuilt with new engines, undercarriage and paint in most cases and a bit slower than the vans as they tend to make stops and only leave the origin point once they are full.
If you follow what the Lonely Planet guide-book says, take a chicken bus to Escuintla (Q$ 7) and from there another one to Puerto San Jose or to Iztapa (Q$ 10). If you can't catch the one to Iztapa, ask the driver to drop you off in the highway... before you get into town. The van you'll take in the highway will charge you Q$ 5 and you need to ask the driver to take you to the river where you can continue to Monterrico.
Once you're in the river, catch a little boat to get you to Pueblo Viejo (Q$ 3) at the other side. There you'll take another van that will finally drop you off at Monterrico's main avenue.
There's another way to get to Monterrico, it's nicer and shorter!
Take a bus to Escuintla, then continue to Taxisco... transfer to La Avellana (Q$ 5), and there take a boat (Q$ 5) to get across the manglar. That part is beautiful and much more fun than all the other vans and buses!
The boat will leave at the end of Monterrico's main avenue, that's a 15-minute walk to the beach.
I had tried to avoid guatemala city at all costs. I failed, and in the end even missed the shuttle that i had arranged to whisk me away to Antigua. I took the chickenbus, my first, and it was FINE. perhaps an hour or an hour and a half?