How to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

How to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

Need to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan? There are a few different ways and in this post I’m going to talk you through the best ways to make the journey, starting with the cheapest.

Always travel through Panajachel to or from Antigua

If you are planning to travel from Antigua to Lake Atitlan the easiest place to travel to or from is Panajachel. So wherever your starting or final destination you want to take the bus between Antigua and Panajachel.

If you decide to travel by chicken bus rather than a shuttle you will need to catch it from Panajachel anyway. However, if you are in any of the other towns it will be easy enough to book a tourist bus or find a private transfer.

The reason I say this is because if you book a direct shuttle from San Pedro to Antigua for example, it will take you hours and hours longer. Plus that road coming in and out of San Pedro is a death trap haha. There is a constant stream of buses coming through 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 then a bus from Panajachel to Antigua.

Solo traveling for the first time? Get my new book…

Taking the Chicken Bus from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

Getting from Lake Atitlan to Antigua

This is the cheapest way, but it can also be a bit tricky. The timetable is limited, so if you can’t leave in the morning you will most likely need to get a tourist bus.

To get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

There is one direct bus early in the morning from the main bus station by the market. It leaves at 7 am and should arrive in Panajachel for 10:45 pm.

To get from Panajachel to Antigua

There is one direct chicken bus to Antigua from Panajachel a day that departs from Calle Principal (by the fried chicken place) at 10:45. It will cost you 35Q ($5) it will take you about 2.5 hours.

If you miss the direct bus you will need to get 3 buses. Just head to the bus stop on Calle Principal and wait for the bus to Solola. Take it right to the end and then when you get off you need the Los Encuentros bus. From Los Encuentros you need to take the bus to Chimaltenango and from there you can get the bus to Antigua…phew!

The total cost is 36Q (3Q, 3Q, 20Q, 10Q)

Take a Tourist Bus/ Shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan


Traveling by shuttle is by far the easiest way to travel if you miss the direct chicken bus, or if you prefer to travel in a little bit more comfort! Book a direct shuttle through GuateGo by clicking the link here or you can book through most hostels.

When you travel by shuttle you also have the added benefit of a comfort stop half way and you see them securing your bag on the roof (rather than it just being slung on top of the chicken bus!)

Take a private car or shuttle from Antigua to Lake Atitlan

If money’s no object for you then one of the tour companies can arrange a private shuttle. Antigua tours will take up to 4 people one way for $100. You can also book a private shuttle with GuateGo.


How to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan


Final Thoughts

Take a look here for information about things to do around Lake Atitlan. Or if you are heading to Antigua then make sure you take a read of my posts on Antigua.

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 who have painstakingly brought together all of the transport and tour options in one easy to use website. You can book transport in Guatemala with them here and Guatemalan tours with them here.

Need accommodation in Lake Atitlan?

If you want to stay in San Pedro then I’d recommend Zoola San Pedro AtitlanAmiGosHotel Tinamit, or Cristalinas Cafe, Hotel & Restaurant at Lake. If you are planning on staying in San Marcos and enjoy yoga then I cannot recommend Eagle’s Nest Atitlán enough. If yoga isn’t your thing and you want something bit more upmarket then you can’t go wrong with Lush Atitlan. Or this cute Airbnb is just outside of San Marcos, I stayed here and the views are worth the walk into town.

My friend Julia is developing an incredible retreat center close to San Marcos. They have two places to stay on Airbnb and I can’t recommend them enough! I stayed there and it was the most blissed-out I’ve been in years. In Panajachel, I recommend PanaHouse or Selina Atitlan

Would you like up to $29 off Airbnb? Just use this link.

Looking for Accommodation in Antigua?

There are 3 places I recommend Selina or Yellow House Hostel if you are looking for a hostel. Alternatively, if you want an Airbnb I can’t recommend this house enough. The owner Chelsea is a very good friend and I stayed in the larger one last time I was in Antigua. For hotels, I recommend Hotel Mesón de María, Barbara’s Boutique Hostel, or Hotel Paseo de la Merced.

Would you like up to $29 off Airbnb? Just use this link.

Planning a Trip to Guatemala? You might be interested in these articles:

How to get from Guatemala City to Antigua

Is it safe to visit Guatemala? Safety Advice for Solo Female Travelers

The night I thought I was going to die in Guatemala

Things to know before visiting Antigua, Guatemala

11 things to know before visiting Guatemala

The Top 5 Tours in Guatemala | The Best Tours in Guatemala in Guatemala


Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with. 
  • – I LOVE especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there. 
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership! 
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review. 
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration. 
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Derek

    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.

    1. Noelle

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

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