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How to Get From Antigua to Lake Atitlan

Do you need to know how to get from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan? There are several methods to get from Lake Atitlan to Antigua and vice versa. In this post, I’m sharing the best ways to travel from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, including a shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan and more.

Always Travel Through Panajachel

If you’re traveling from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, the most convenient location to catch a ride is Panajachel. Wherever you start or finish your trip, take the bus between Antigua and Panajachel.

If you travel by bus rather than a shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan, you must catch it from Panajachel anyway. However, if you are in another town, booking a tourist bus or finding a private transfer will be easy.

Booking a direct shuttle from San Pedro to Antigua will take you hours—plus, that road coming in and out of San Pedro is a death trap, haha. There’s a constant stream of buses traveling from Panajachel to Antigua and boats ferrying people from the lakeside villages. Trust me, I did this journey more times than I care to remember. Take a boat to Panajachel and a bus to Antigua.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Taking the Chicken Bus From Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan

Getting from Lake Atitlan to Antigua

Are you wondering how to get to Lake Atitlan from Antigua on a backpacker budget? Taking a bus from Antigua to Lake Atitlan is the cheapest, but it can be tricky. The timetable is limited, so if you can’t leave in the morning, you will most likely need to get a tourist bus.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Lake Atitlan ToursClick here to check out the top Lake Atitlan tours
Best Lake Atitlan Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Lake Atitlan
Best Lake Atitlan Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Lake Atitlan

Antigua to Panajachel

There is one direct bus early in the morning from the central bus station by the market. It leaves at 7:00 a.m. and should arrive in Panajachel by 10:45 p.m.

Panajachel to Antigua

There is no direct bus to Antigua from Panajachel, so you must get three buses.

Taking the Shuttle Antigua to Lake Atitlan

Traveling by shuttle is the easiest option if you miss the direct bus or prefer to travel comfortably. Book a direct shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan through GuateGo by clicking the link here. You can also book through most hostels.

When you travel by shuttle, you also have the added benefit of a comfort stop halfway. Your bags will be secured on the roof rather than slung on the chicken bus!

Taking a Private Car or Shuttle Antigua to Lake Atitlan

If money’s no object, use a tour company to arrange a private shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. Antigua tours will take up to four people one way for $190. You can also book a private shuttle from Lake Atitlan to Antigua with GuateGo.

Looking for Accommodations in San Pedro?

If you want to stay in San Pedro, I recommend Zoola San Pedro AtitlanAmiGosHotel Tinamit, Cristalinas Cafe, or Hotel & Restaurant at Lake.

In Panajachel, I recommend PanaHouse or Selina Atitlan.

I also wrote an entire accommodation guide for Antigua, Guatemala City, and Lake Atitlan.

Looking for Accommodations in Antigua?

I recommend several places for a hostel, including Selina and Yellow House Hostel. I recommend Hotel Mesón de María and Barbara’s Boutique Hostel for hotels. I’ve gathered all the best places to eat in Antigua if you need recommendations.

The company I recommend for booking transport and tours in Guatemala (other than the individuals and companies I have named) is GuateGo. They are a Guatemala-owned company that has combined all the transportation and tour options in one easy-to-use website. You can book transportation and Guatemalan tours with them here.

Quick Tip: View my full Central America packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my Central America Essentials shopping list here.

Lake Atitlan Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Lake Atitlan?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to Lake Atitlan which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for Lake Atitlan on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in Lake Atitlan?

I strongly recommend using GottoGo. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in Lake Atitlan?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

How to Get to Lake Atitlan? Final Thoughts

While taking a bus is the cheapest way to travel from Antigua Guatemala to Lake Atitlan, taking a shuttle is the easiest. If you’re traveling on an unlimited budget, book a private car or shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan for added comfort. Read more about Lake Atitlan here for inspiration on things to do once you arrive.

Guatemala travel guide - the best way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan.

Carola Steenbrink

Friday 6th of January 2023

Today (6th January 2023) the direct bus connection from Panajachel to Antigua doesn’t exist anymore. It’s only possible to take the option with 3 busses and that takes you about 3,5 hours!

Claire Summers

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

Thats great Carola, thank you for letting me know! I'll get this updated.


Thursday 20th of January 2022

Hello Claire, Very informative! This will be my first time going to Lake Atitlan and you suggested take boat in Panajachel to San Pedro. My silly question is I will have a suitcase, will that be an issue? Definitely going to stand out! Lol


Monday 23rd of December 2019

Useful post thanks. Only thing I noticed is that you said the 7am bus from Antigua should arrive by 10.45pm in Panajachel. Think you mean 10.45am. Cheers.


Thursday 13th of February 2020

Good thing you caught that ? I was wondering if it was really that long of a bus ride! Thanks ?