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How To Get From Guatemala City Airport to Antigua Safely & Cheaply

Wondering how to get to Antigua from Guatemalan City airport? In this guide, I will share with you the best way to get from Guatemala City Airport to Antigua including Uber to Guatemala, private cars, shuttle buses, and Chicken busses, I’ve covered them all!

I must admit the first time I flew into Guatemala as a solo female traveler the thing that I felt most nervous about was how I was going to get from Guatemala City to Antigua safely, speaking no Spanish. It’s why I’ve written this blog post in as much detail as I could to help other travelers feel calmer about taking this journey for the first time.

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 at working out how to get 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 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 $39. 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. 

Is there an Antigua Airport?

A street in Guatemala with a clock tower in Antigua, overlooking a majestic mountain in the background.

No, there is no Antigua airport. The closest airport to Antigua is La Aurora International Airport (Guatemala City Airport). This is the main international airport in Guatemala.

Are there other Airports In Guatemala?

Yes, there are actually several hundred airports in Guatemala. However, there are only 2 Guatremala international airports.

The main international airport in Guatemala is La Aurora International Airport otherwise known as Guatemala City Airport. This is the airport most tourists fly into as it’s the closest to Antigua.

The other International Airport in Guatemala is Mundo Maya International Airport which was previously known as Flores International Airport. This is located in the North of Guatemala close to Tikal.

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

  • Uber
  • Airport Taxi
  • Book a private driver
  • Take a shared shuttle
  • Use public transport (AKA the chicken bus)
  • Car rental Guatemala airport

When working out how to get to Antigua 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 Antigua,antigua,guatemalaGuatemala airport to Antigua,antigua,guatemalaDistance 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 while enjoying things to do in Antigua, Guatemala with kids. That said if you have an early or late flight and are nervous figuring out how to get to Antigua and 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. 

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

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 GottoGo 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 Guatemala City to Antigua shuttle, and 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 Guatemala City to Antigua shuttle with GottoGo. 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…
  • And if you are feeling super brave then book a car rental Guatemala airport

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

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

Book a place on a shared Guatemala City to Antigua shuttle

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 $19 USD, 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 sitting there for 3 hours before. You may get lucky, but for a few $$ I would just pre-book at least a day before with GottoGo.

How to pre-book a shuttle to Antigua:

A boat docked in the water near a scenic coastline.

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 10 to 15 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 $25 USD outside of peak times but on average you will be looking at around $30 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 sim card at the airport so long as your phone is unlocked. The airport now has an official Wi-Fi 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.

Car rental Guatemala Airport

Renting a car at Guatemala’s La Aurora International Airport is fairly straightforward, and it could be an excellent option for you given your interest in adventure and exploring off-the-beaten-path spots. Most international rental companies like Hertz, Avis, and Budget, as well as some local companies, have offices at the airport.

Personally I would never rent a car in Guatemala airport 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. 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.

  1. Book in Advance or On Arrival: I’d recommend booking your car online in advance to secure the type of vehicle you want. This can be particularly helpful during high tourist season. However, if you’re feeling spontaneous, you can also rent directly at the airport upon arrival.
  2. Documentation: Make sure you have all the necessary documents, which usually include a valid driver’s license, passport, and a credit card with sufficient funds for a security deposit.
  3. Choose the Right Car: Given the varied terrain in Guatemala, pick a car that suits your travel plans. If you’re planning to venture into the highlands or less-developed areas, a 4×4 might be your best bet. Given your adventurous spirit, a sturdy vehicle sounds like a good match for you!
  4. Inspect the Vehicle: Before signing any papers, thoroughly inspect the vehicle for any damage and ensure all is documented on the rental agreement to avoid any additional charges later.
  5. Insurance: Check the insurance options carefully. It’s usually advisable to get comprehensive insurance that covers damage, theft, and third-party liability, especially if you’re planning on exploring more remote areas.
  6. Additional Gear: If you’re planning on activities like camping or heading to diving spots, see if the rental company offers additional gear like roof racks or car fridges.
  7. Road Conditions: Given your experience traveling in Latin America, you’re likely aware that road conditions can be unpredictable. Always check the latest road conditions and safety advisories before setting out.
  8. Return the Car: Make sure you return the car with the same amount of fuel as it had when you picked it up to avoid extra charges. Also, allow some time for the rental company to inspect the car for damages before you catch your flight back.
Guatemala airport to Antigua,antigua,guatemala

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 ($2.70). 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. And I have gathered all the best places to eat in Antigua here in case you need any recs.

Antigua Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Antigua?

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

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

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 Antigua?

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 Booking.com, Hotels.com, 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 from Guatemala airport to Antigua safely and cheaply

John baker

Monday 15th of January 2024

Hi Claire. Thank you so much for your guide. I will be taking a bus from San Salvador to the bus station in Guatemala City. Can you tell me the best way to get to Antigua from the bus station. Should I get to the airport and go from there? I’m an older guy and don’t really want a chicken bus for my old bones.

Amii

Saturday 28th of October 2023

Hi Claire, Thank for writing this article. You mention that it’s possible to use wifi at a cafe at the airport to book an Uber. Our flight next week will get in at 7pm. Will any airport cafes still be open by then? And if not, is it possible to access wifi at a cafe if they’re not open?

Claire Summers

Monday 30th of October 2023

I would say it's unlikely that the cafe is open at 7pm. There is a chance the airport could have WiFi now though as it's been a coupe of years since I was there.

Looks like they have wifi now https://www.sleepinginairports.net/guides/guatemala-city-airport-guide.htm

Julie

Thursday 26th of October 2023

I am interested in booking GuateGo, but it appears the shuttles go every 3-3.5 hours (6 am, 930am, 130 pm, 430 pm, 730pm). I'm not sure if I'm just searching wrong, but is there a way to pick more times? My flight will arrive in GUA at 6 am and I doubt I would make the 6 am bus due to customs, but I also don't know if I want to plan to wait until 930 am bus. Thoughts?

Claire

Monday 30th of October 2023

Hey Julie! In my experience that looks about right for the regular shuttle times. I'd advise you to contact GottoGo and double check to make sure :)

Tranika

Tuesday 17th of October 2023

Very helpful thanks traveling to Guatemala with my 2 kids

Gearoid

Friday 22nd of September 2023

Hi Claire, I hope you're keeping well. I just came across your blog and have been reading through the comments which is very helpful. I'm flying to Guatemala next week and aim to travel around for a number of weeks - i'm going to have to learn Spanish as I go as I haven't a word at the moment ;) If you've any suggestions or pointers i'd welcome them. I've put together a rough itinerary which i'd be happy to share with you.