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 time than I care to remember, I’m a pro on getting to Antigua. If you are 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.
The main ways you can get from Guatemala City to Antigua are:
- Airport Taxi
- Book a private driver
- Take a shared shuttle
- Use public transport (AKA the chicken bus)
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.
Distance 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!
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. 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.
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.
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. 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 who you could share with 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com 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 Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, 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 bookaway.com 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.