Guatemala's capital city and second-largest city of Quetzaltenango, known locally as Xela, are 124 miles (201 km) apart. The best way to make this journey is by car, either by private transfer or rental, which will take about three and a half hours without any traffic. 

Taking a private transfer or rental car will allow you to make as many stops along the Pan-American Highway way as you'd like.

You can also take a group shuttle, but you'll have to make an additional one-hour journey to nearby Antigua first, which will add time. 

If you'd like to see the most scenic areas of Guatemala on a 16-day tour that will take you hiking and camping around six different volcanoes, including the Zunil Volcano in Quetzaltenango, then consider this itinerary

By Private Transfer or Rental Car

Duration: 3.5 hours, more with traffic and stops

You can talk to a local specialist about booking a private driver ahead of time to pick you up at your hotel, or you can head to the airport and easily find someone willing to make the trip. 

The drive from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango will take you through some scenic winding passes in the High Sierra, but you will likely hit some traffic on the outskirts of the city, so make sure to leave with a full tank of gas if you're driving yourself. If you do decide to rent a car, be sure to call your hotel ahead of time and make sure they have protected parking.

The most direct route is along the CA-1, which will take you past the country's highest point at a place known locally as "Alaska."

By Group Shuttle

Duration: 6 hours

If you're traveling with a larger group, you can take a group shuttle to Quetzaltenango. You'll have to get to Antigua first, which is about 25 minutes away, so you'll have to take a one-hour taxi ride private transfer.

You can purchase a ticket for a group shuttle once you get to Antigua, but consider asking one of our local specialists for help with booking. Most shuttle buses from Antigua are comfortable and have amenities like air conditioning, bottles of water, and charging ports.


Map of How to Get from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango
Map of How to Get from Guatemala City to Quetzaltenango