Getting Around Guatemala

Located in the heart of Central America, Guatemala is about as big as Iceland or the US state of Tennesee. Meaning “place of many trees” in Nahuatl, Guatemala has a mountainous and jungly interior and notoriously bad roads, which can make getting around quite time-consuming. The traffic in the big cities and on the highways can also be unpredictable, so it’s always worth allowing extra time when making travel plans.

There are two main airports in Guatemala, La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, and Mundo Maya International Airport in Flores—close to the Tikal ruins. Some people fly into one and out of the other, or fly to and from Flores to avoid the long trip from Tikal to Guatemala City by road. There are a few smaller regional airports as well, but unless you charter private flights or scenic helicopter trips like in this luxury tour, it’s more common to travel by road.

The safest, most convenient and most comfortable ways to navigate the roads in Guatemala are by private car (private transfer, taxi, or rideshare) or tourist shuttle (minibus or coach). You can also take brightly-colored ‘chicken’ buses, or self-drive a rental car—although we don’t tend to recommend this option, especially if you haven’t driven in Central America before. 

Taking a private transfer allows you an extra degree of flexibility and the opportunity to visit other places along the way, like stopping in at Chichicastenango to break up the long journey from Lake Atitlán to Semuc Champey. If you prefer to be a little more spontaneous, you can find taxis in most places, with rideshare apps also common in bigger cities like Antigua and Guatemala City.

Private or group tours and personalized itineraries are also a good way to get around Guatemala and take all the stresses out of organizing your own transport and figuring out how to get from a to b.
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