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How to Get From Tikal, Antigua, and Guatemala City to Rio Dulce Guatemala

There are many answers to how to get to Rio Dulce Guatemala. You can travel from Belize, Tikal, Semuc Champey, Antigua, and Guatemala City to Rio Dulce. It’s not always easy navigating your way around Guatemala, so I’ve created this guide to help you decide, “Is Rio Dulce worth visiting?”

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

Where is Rio Dulce Guatemala?

You may have heard of Rio Dulce but do not know where it is or how to get there, so let’s start there. Rio Dulce is located in the eastern Guatemala department of Izabal. Rio Dulce translates to “sweet river,” connecting Guatemala’s biggest river with the Caribbean Sea.

Boat ride in Rio Dulce Guatemala

Why Is Rio Dulce Worth Visiting?

Rio Dulce is a destination for people who want to disconnect from the outside world and enjoy an escapade in nature. This is why it’s a honeymoon destination for some people.

You can read my complete guide to Rio Dulce here.

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. 

Guatemala City to Rio Dulce

Most prefer to visit cities like Antigua or Lake Atitlan when they first arrive in Guatemala due to their proximity to the Guatemala City Airport. Once you are ready to travel from Guatemala City to Rio Dulce Guatemala, here’s how I recommend going about it.

Private Transportation

My friends at GuateGo offer both private and shared options. If you hire private transportation with these guys, they will tell you if it’s possible on the same day, depending on the flight arrival time. Since this journey takes about five hours, some people don’t recommend traveling at night. If this is the case, you can stay at one of the hotels near the airport and have a bus pick you up early the following day. Check out my guide to Where to Stay in Guatemala City for tips on finding accommodations.

Shared Transportation

If you hire shared transportation with GuateGo, search from Guatemala City to Rio Dulce to check the bus times. If you search from Guatemala City Airport to Rio Dulce, you won’t find anything because they work with other bus companies that won’t reimburse you for traffic or flight delays. GuateGo doesn’t risk these client misunderstandings and won’t offer to take you from the airport directly to Rio Dulce unless it is a private service.

This is why I recommend searching and looking at the bus departure times to hire a taxi or Uber from the airport to the bus stations. This takes around 30 minutes to one hour, depending on traffic. Also, I suggest arriving at the bus station 30-45 minutes before departure.

If you don’t find any options that suit your schedule, you can stay at a hotel near Guatemala City Airport and continue to Rio Dulce the next day.

Car Rental

You can rent a car at Guatemala City airport. If you plan to visit different natural reserves, I recommend hiring a 4×4 vehicle since some roads are not in the best condition.

Rio Dulce Travel Guide

How to Get to Rio Dulce Guatemala From Antigua

The options for traveling from Antigua to Rio Dulce are similar to those from the Guatemala City Airport.

Private Transportation

If you choose this option, expect a price hike because Antigua is farther from Rio Dulce than other places like Semuc Champey or Tikal. Most people travel to Antigua, Tikal, or Semuc Champey and then onto Rio Dulce.

Shared Transportation

I have better news for you in this case! GuateGo does offer this service from Antigua. They will pick you up and drive you directly to the bus station in Guatemala City, where you will switch buses to Rio Dulce. Click here to visit the GuateGo website.

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

Car Rental

The company where I had the best experience renting a car in Antigua is Guatemala Rent a Car on 4th Ave. Sur. The staff is friendly and efficient, and the vehicles are in excellent condition. You can also check here.

Check out my post for information on how to get from Guatemala City Airport to Antigua.

how to get to rio dulce

Belize to Rio Dulce

Before traveling from Belize to Rio Dulce, you must consider how to get to Livingston Guatemala. There’s no direct route from Belize, so you’ll have to take a ferry from Punta Gorda to Livingston. Here, you can look for information about water taxis in Belize to find schedules to help you plan how to get to Livingston Guatemala. From Livingston, you can take a boat to Rio Dulce. Here, you can see information about ferries from Livingston to Rio Dulce.

Flores to Rio Dulce

If you are traveling from Flores to Rio Dulce, I again recommend my friends from GuateGo since they have both shared and private transportation options. You can search for transportation in Guatemala by clicking here.

Semuc Champey to Rio Dulce

Many travelers choose to take this route. It does not take you from Semuc Champey but from the nearby town of Lanquin. This isn’t the best road in Guatemala, that’s for sure, so be patient if the bus moves slowly. The approximate time of this journey is about six hours. It picks you up at 8:00 a.m. at the “Centro de Salud” (Health Center) in Lanquin. Click here for more information.

How to Get Around Rio Dulce

If you have read my Rio Dulce Travel Guide, you know you will take much water transportation from point A to point B. Most hotels have a pickup service from Rio Dulce’s main road included in the price. If you want to explore, ask the front desk if they offer boat rides or kayak rentals for an extra charge.

Other hotels have land connections, so I advise researching the hotel in advance, depending on your preferences.

Rio Dulce Guatemala Hotels

Do you need recommendations for Rio Dulce Guatemala hotels? I recommend checking these places:


Banana Palms Hotel
Boatique Hotel and Marina

Beachfront Hotels

Nanajuana Río Dulce
Tortugal Boutique River Lodge
Hotel Hacienda Tijax Jungle Logde

Other Nice Rio Dulce Guatemala Hotels

Hotel Kangaroo y Las Mexicanas
El Hotelito Perdido
Hotel Casa Perico

Rio Dulce Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for Rio Dulce?

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

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

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 Rio Dulce?

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 From Guatemala City to Rio Dulce: Final Thoughts

Your main options for getting from Antigua, Flores, or Guatemala City to Rio Dulce are private transportation, shared transportation, or a car rental. You can also travel from Belize or Semuc Champey to Rio Dulce, though the route takes longer and isn’t as direct.

A boat docked at a dock, serving as a solo travel guide to Tikka and Guatemala City, with tips on getting to Rio Dulce and recommendations for hotels in Rio Dulce Guatemala