How to get from Guatemala airport to Antigua safely and cheaply

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In this guide, I will share with you the best way to get from Guatemala airport to Antigua including private cars, shuttle buses, and Chicken busses, I’ve covered them all! There is no Antigua Guatemala airport, the closest airport to Antigua is in Guatemala City and it isn’t always the most smooth journey.

Having lived in Guatemala and traveled to and from Aurora International Airport in Guatemala more times than I care to remember, I’m a pro on getting to Antigua. If you are on an early or late flight though more often than not, it is better to find hotels in Guatemala city near the airport to avoid traveling in the dark.

Did You Get Your Travel Insurance Yet?

If you are planning a trip right now then you NEED to thing seriously about insurance. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything!

Travel insurance has always been high on the list of things to get before you travel but now more than ever it should be at the top of your list! I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So you need to find an insurer that covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, World Nomads and Safety Wing are the ones to go for. World Nomads is great for incidents that happen prior to your trip, so if you get sick or are unable to travel due to travel restrictions some of their policies will cover that as cancellation cover. Safety Wing goes the extra mile and covers quarantine outside your home for up to 10 days, they also have a really handy map on their website showing requirements and restrictions for each country.

If you are doing shorter trips or a onger backpacking trip then WorldNomads is the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for SafetyWing. Alternativly Travel Insurance Master is a great site to do a more general serch for vacation insurance. Just make sure whichever insurance plan you go with will cover you for COVID.

The main ways you can get from Guatemala City to Antigua are:

Now not all of these modes of transport are created equally! So read on to find out more about each of them and my personal recommendations for getting to Antigua from the airport.

Guatemala airport to AntiguaGuatemala airport to AntiguaDistance from Guatemala City Airport to Antigua

The distance from Guatemala City Airport to Antigua is just under 40 Kilometers. On a good day, it will take you 45 minutes. On a normal day an hour and on a bad day it could take several hours!

Guatemala Guides | How to get from Guatemala City to Antigua

Why you should travel from Guatemala Airport to Antigua

If you are traveling to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala, then you probably want to get out of Guatemala City as soon as you can. It’s not somewhere that tourists like to hang around for safety reasons.

The closest place to Guatemala City Airport that’s tourist-friendly is Antigua Guatemala. If you are planning to explore Guatemala, Antigua is the perfect place to start your adventure, check out my Antigua accommodation guide for some inspo and to find a place to stay. That said if you have an early or late flight and are nervous about traveling in the night then it is often best to stay at a hotel close to the airport.

All of the hotels/ hostels have a free airport shuttle. There are plenty of hotels in Guatemala City near the airport, but I have a few I have used that I recommend. 

Here are the hostels near Guatemala city airport I recommend

Hostel Donde Regina – click to check prices

Laguna Sky Guatemala – click to check prices

Mariana’s Petit Hotel – click to check prices

How to decide the best form of transport for you to get to Antigua

So here’s the thing. I have people commenting all the time complaining that GuateGo is too expensive and Chicken busses are cheaper or letting me know that they managed to get an Uber for just a few $$ more than a shared shuttle.

I get it. I really do.

But here’s the thing. We all have different priorities when it comes to transport in a foreign country.

When I first moved to Guatemala, I didn’t speak a word of Spanish, and I needed to get to Lake Atitlan for my Spanish course the day after my flight got in. I was so nervous about traveling in Guatemala I booked a private driver to pick me up and deliver me to San Pedro. The thought of doing this now seems ridiculous to me as I know Guatemala so well. But back then, it was an important decision.

Now for me, the priority is always getting from A-B in the least stressful way that doesn’t break the bank, or involve me waiting around at the airport for hours. So sometimes I book a shuttle, sometimes I’ll take an Uber.

Here are your options as I see them for transport to Antigua:

  • If you are feeling nervous about the journey then book a shuttle with GuateGo. That way you know you will be picked up and dropped off and it will cost you less than $20.
  • If you don’t want to deal with shuttles and don’t mind potentially being stuck in a car with a stranger for several hours then take a taxi, Uber, or book a driver.
  • And if you are crazy and want to risk wandering around Guatemala City with your backpack in search of a Chicken Bus then please be my guest…

Now for the details, here is exactly how you do each option.

Book a place on a shared shuttle from Guatemala airport to Antigua

This is the method of transport between Guatemala airport and Antigua that I recommend. It is the cheapest, safest, and easiest way to travel. You can pre-book your shuttle (recommended) which will cost more money, BUT you will have peace of mind, and you shouldn’t have to wait for too long.

To book a shared shuttle from Guatemala City airport to Antigua click here. 

If you decide to risk it and not pre-book, when you are exiting the airport there will be shuttle vans there waiting to take people from Guatemala airport to Antigua. The cost is around $10-15, and it takes just over an hour with good traffic.

Now the biggest pitfall of not pre-booking a shuttle is that you will be waiting for at least two others to join you. I’ve been sat there for 3 hours before. You may get lucky, but for a few $$ I would just pre-book at least a day before with GuateGo.

Guatemala airport to Antigua

How to pre-book a shuttle to Antigua:

When booking be sure to check From: la Aurora airport To: Antigua Guatemala. Then select how many tickets you want and your dates. Note: Every shuttle will wait between 30 to 40 minutes for you to come out of the airport. They will be holding a sign with your name on it. So make sure you look out for it! Don’t forget to book your return journey too.

The shuttle will drop you off at your hotel or a central point in Antigua if you have nothing booked.

If you arrive in the evening after 8:30 pm then you may need to take a taxi, Uber, or get a hotel room. You can probably spot a fellow traveler with who you could share to save money. It’s always worth asking people at the airport. 

Hire a Private Driver to drive you to Antigua from Guatemala City Airport

To do this, you can do a bit of a Facebook search in the Antigua Guatemala groups as there are always local drivers posting in there offering their services, or check out Viatour. The driver will be there to pick you up from the Guatemala City airport with your name on a sign and deliver you directly to your hotel. I’d also recommend contacting Heart of Travel who are likely to have a driver available to come and pick you up. They can also help you to arrange any private tours you might want. Use the form below to send them a message.

Take an Airport Taxi from Guatemala airport to Antigua

If you are feeling flush, then you can take a taxi from the airport directly to Antigua for $35. If you prefer to travel in a little bit of comfort and don’t like the idea of your backpack/ suitcase being strapped to the roof of a van, then this is the mode of transport for you!

Book an Uber to take you to Antigua

Uber is available in Guatemala, and I have known people to book an Uber from Guatemala airport to Antigua. If you are traveling solo though I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are traveling after 7 pm due to traffic (it will cost a fortune quite possibly more than a taxi).

The cost can be as low as $18 USD outside of peak times but on average you will be looking at around $23 USD for an uber to Antigua. The biggest issue with Uber is the traffic. It may not look far on the map from Guatemala City to Antigua but believe me, if you are traveling during peak times it can take hours!

If you want to use Uber however you are going to need to use your phone! You can easily buy a Claro simcard at the airport so long as your phone is unlocked. The airport doesn’t have an official free wifi network, but if you buy a coffee in one of the little cafes they do have wifi which is a bit on the slow side, but it will be enough to book an uber.

Rent a car and drive yourself from the airport to Antigua

Firstly, renting a car in Guatemala is a terrible idea.

Unless you know Guatemala well and are experienced in driving in Latin American countries with roads full of potholes (craters) where no one pays any attention to traffic lights, give this a miss. But if you are convinced this is the option for you, then there are several rental car companies based in the airport, and you can book here.

Guatemala airport to Antigua

Take the public bus from Guatemala airport to Antigua

This is not the way I would recommend you to travel from Guatemala airport to Antigua.

Especially if you don’t know much Spanish. In fact, if you don’t speak Spanish, I would strongly advise against it! There is a lot of reported crime on the chicken buses between Guatemala City and Antigua so use caution when choosing this route. That’s not to say you shouldn’t use chicken buses in Guatemala (you absolutely should!) just not when you first arrive and while carrying everything you own…

You will need to take a shuttle into the city to the main bus terminal and get a “chicken bus” to Antigua. The cost of the chicken bus ride is 10Q ($1.25). But honestly, though, it really isn’t worth it.

When you clear immigration you will see signs for shuttles, just tell them you want to go into the city to the bus station. They will book you on the next shuttle.

Wondering if you need a visa for Guatemala?

For more details on Guatemala visa valid and details, you can visit natvisa.com. Many people can get a visa on arrival ., but always check first as there are a lot of nationalities that will need to apply for a visa before visiting Guatemala.

Looking for Accommodation in Antigua?

There are 3 places I recommend Selina or Yellow House Hostel if you are looking for a hostel. For hotels, I recommend Hotel Mesón de María, Barbara’s Boutique Hostel, or Hotel Paseo de la Merced. I also wrote a whole accommodation guide for Antigua, read it here. And I also did this accommodation guide for Lake Atitlan.

How to get from Guatemala airport to Antigua safely and cheaply

DEBORAH ANN SCHAKEL

Thursday 23rd of September 2021

Good advice. I used some tips. The Heart of Travel.

Kate Moreno

Thursday 5th of August 2021

Hey Claire, If I am leaving from the United States to Guatemala City. Do you know where I need to submit my negative covid test. I am flying through American Airlines, yet they said I might have to send the negative test directly through a Guatemala website. Any idea?

Amit Bek

Wednesday 26th of May 2021

Hi claire, I am landing in Guatemala City at night, 10:08pm. I tried to book a shuttle to Antigua as you suggested but the hours were only early. Do you know if there are shuttles ar night as well? I already booked for a hostel in Antigua. Thank you so much!

Claire Summers

Wednesday 26th of May 2021

Hi, there is no transportation that late at night. The roads in Guatemala aren't great. If I was you I would just stay in the city and travel to Antigua in the morning. If you are adamant you want to go then it will be best to just arrive and pay for a taxi, or try and get an Uber.

taahira keturah

Thursday 20th of May 2021

Greeting Claire , i am traveling to Guatemala next week for the first time and reading your comments is really helpful, i will be arriving late night and was debating renting a car and driving , based on your earlier suggestions i will probably stay at airport hotel for arrival night and rent car and drive to my stay in Atitlan for the morning. i want to go to the Chichi market and shop as a must do ... can you offer any suggestions or share your experience with the market?

Claire Summers

Thursday 20th of May 2021

I would 100% stay in Guate for the night and then rent a car in the morning. All the hotels run free pickups and drop-offs to the airport. You won't want to be driving at night in Guatemala, the roads are pretty awful!

Alexa

Tuesday 23rd of March 2021

Hello Claire!!

I’ll be spending 8 days in Guatemala. I am arriving to the Guatemala City Airport around 9pm. I’d like to hit Lake Antitlan, Antigua, and El Paredon. Each hotel shared that they can coordinate private transportation. Which city/town would you advise I head to first given that I am arriving so late? The last city I visit needs to be somewhere I can easily get a rapid COVID test in order to head back to the states.

Claire Summers

Friday 26th of March 2021

I would suggest spending the night in a hotel close to the airport, then traveling the next day. As for the COVID test. It's best done in Guatemala City. So staying in Antigua or the city is best. Hope that helps! I wrote a whole post on traveling in Guatemala now. https://clairesitchyfeet.com/can-i-travel-to-guatemala-right-now/ has info about testing in it.

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