Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Transportation once you're here

There are several ways to get from Guatemala City to Panajachel, most common for tourists being the shuttle vans. Usually your hotel will line this up for you. Once you're here, shuttle vans can take you to other areas of Central America as well. Along the street are many places listing times and places and prices.

Within Panajachel the easiest way to get around is on foot, but if you are carrying a load or just tired of walking you can flag down a taxi, or tuk tuk. They're everywhere and cost only 5 quetzales, or about 75 cents U.S., to get anywhere inside town. This is per person, so if there are 2 or 3 of you together, you can add up the cost. It's good to know in advance since if you're obvious tourists, the tuk tuk driver may double the price.

Our hotel provides free bicycles to guests, and although I'm nervous about riding a bike on these crowded streets, this is the main form of transportation for local families. As in the US, a husband and wife will each have their own car, in Pana they'll each have their own bike, some equipped with extra seats for carrying a child or two.

And there is the ever present chicken bus, the best way to get to Solola or other places inland. It's only 3 quetzales to go one way to Solola, a larger town than Panajachel. Many residents go on Friday when Solola has their big market day.

 For all the villages around the lake, there's the extensive water taxi system. This is more expensive than a chicken bus, costing 25 quetzales per person to cross the lake.

The middle class residents will have a car or motorcycles. Personally, I'm happy just to walk, with the occasional tuk tuk or bus ride.


  1. I'd pay to let a tuk tuk drive me around.

  2. Transportation is always greatly local isn't it? Here it is mostly trucks, snow mobiles in the winter (still going strong) and a variety of water craft in the summer -mostly small motorboats and a few canoes. I'm thinking of getting a bike to go from home to work ( a 20 minute walk) and from work around on the reserve. BUT the reserve roads are unbelievably bad so not sure. I can always walk to work but getting to the school and group homes etc...means cadging rides so far...wish we had tuk tuks!

  3. Hi Karen - Tuk Tuk or the river boat .. or on occasions my own flat feet ... with my new hip! Makes life distinctly easier ... but I'd love to visit and see life in Guatemala sometime .. cheers Hilary

  4. I would do the tuk tuk. I would never bike-too scary and I can't anyway. The chicken bus must be tried at least once

  5. I looks like it would be an adventure and lots of fun to take the transportation that is available.

  6. J here, stopping by from the #atozchallenge 2015!
    Great post. I'm following you on your listed social media sites. Congratulations on making it past the first half.

    I love the bus image!

  7. Just realised you're doing the A-Z, too. Sorry I'm late. So glad you're enjoying Guatemala.