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Planning to visit Lake Atitlan? In this post, I will tell you all the possible ways you can get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan for every budget and style.
Lake Atitlan is a beautiful lake located in Guatemala’s highland mountains. It is one of the natural gems of this country in Central America. It is even on the UNESCO world heritage site tentative list, and for good reason!
The lake itself is surrounded by three volcanoes, studded with tiny villages, and is rich in Mayan culture.
It’s a great place to visit whether you’re looking for a cultural tour, beautiful scenery, or want to enjoy the laid-back vibes of Guatemala Panajachel.
If you’re traveling to Lake Atitlan from Antigua Guatemala, there are multiple transportation options available, from a private car to a tourist transfer to more unusual modes of travel.
If you’re trying to get from Guatemala City to Atitlán, I’ve got you covered as well.
Getting from Antigua to Lake Atitlan by tourist shuttle service
Guatemala has several tour companies that offer a shuttle service from Antigua to Lake Atitlan. They are easy to book through your hotel, hostel, or through many of the travel agency offices in Antigua.
You can choose to go on their standard shuttle runs, or book a private transfer so you can leave whenever you wish.
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Shared Shuttle transport to Lake Atitlan from Antigua
If you plan to take a shuttle bus to Lake Atitlan, this could be a great option for you. It is safe, and efficient, and only costs about $25 to $35.
Shuttles collect people from their hotel or accommodation location in central Antigua. The shuttle driver will continue picking up additional passengers before leaving for Lake Atitlan.
During the trip, the driver will make at least one restroom stop, probably in Tecpan.
Most shuttles go to Panajachel, one of Lake Atitlan’s main tourist hubs.
From Panajachel, you can easily take a boat trip or private taxi to any of the other lake villages, such as San Marcos or San Pedro.
Shuttles from Antigua usually leave at 5:30 am, 8:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 4 pm every day. Trip time usually is between 2 and a half to three hours.
Note: They will only pick up passengers located at central hotels.
Getting from Antigua to Guatemala Private Shuttle Bus
If you don’t mind paying additional fees, you can also request a private transfer with the same companies that offer shared shuttle transport. Book in advance, wait for your hotel pickup and be on your way to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
Unless there is an accident or other delays, this transport method will take 2 to 3 hours from your pickup address to your local address in Atitlán.
Cost: $100 or more
Shared shuttle bus from Antigua to Lake Atitlan via Chichicastenango
On Thursdays and Sundays, there’s an extra option for you. If you don’t mind going through Antigua and would like to sightsee, you can take a 0700 am shuttle from Antigua to “Chichi”.
Chichicastenango market day is a popular destination among travelers. Many tours go to this town so that visitors can enjoy shopping, taking pictures, visiting the church, and watching Mayan ceremonies.
You’ll travel up a notoriously twisty road to the highland town, explore its famous market, then continue on to Panajachel. It’s a great way to see a lot in a short period of time.
Price: $50 from Antigua
Travel time: 1 hour to Antigua, 2.5 to 3 hours to Chichicastenango, 1.5 to 2 hours to Lake Atitlan
Getting from Antigua to Lake Atitlan on the Chicken bus
If you’re on a tight budget or are looking for something cultural and adventurous to do, why not take a chicken bus to Lake Atitlán? “Chicken buses” are what expats call public buses in Guatemala and they are one of the things that Guatemala is known for.
Some of them are converted school buses imported from the United States. Most are painted in exuberant colors, adorned with chrome and sport LED lights, sound systems, and sexy stickers.
They aren’t buses made for transporting chickens, as some visitors might guess from the name, but they do sometimes have chickens as cargo-usually in baskets on the roof. Hence the nickname.
Note: I don’t recommend taking a chicken bus if you have back problems or want a ride that is chill and relaxing. Riding the bus is extremely bumpy and fast.
You’ll have to hang on around the corners or you’ll slide right off onto the floor. Although the buses aren’t always cram-packed, especially post 2020, you might end up on a seat with two to four other people.
But also generally speaking they are not the safest option, not only for assaulting issues but because they drive very very fast and the roads in Guatemala are not that straight and wide.
Cost: from Q35
Getting from Antigua to Lake Atitlan on Direct Bus
Another way to get to Lake Atitlán on public transportation is via a direct bus. It will still take three to three and a half hours under normal traffic conditions.
The Rebuli bus line has direct buses to Panajachel, Lake Atitlán’s main hub, every day. They are a reputable company, and it’s what I recommend. They’ll get you to your final destination safely.
There is one bus that leaves from the main bus station near the market in Antigua at 7 am and goes directly to Panajachel.
You can also check with your hotel or hostel for the most up-t0-date information and directions on where to catch the bus.
Getting from Antigua to Lake Atitlan by Rental Car
If you like to travel on your own schedule and plan to see several locations in Guatemala, renting your own car could be a great idea.
It’s also ideal for people who are traveling in groups, with family, or who want to make a day trip to Lake Atitlán. Renting your own car gives you freedom and flexibility.
Plus, driving in another country can be a fun way to add spice to your trip.
On your way to Lake Atitlán, you’ll drive through the winding mountain roads of the central highlands. Be sure to stop at some of the viewpoints along the way to admire the three volcanoes surrounding Lake Atitlán.
You can look for great
Tip: If you are prone to motion sickness, make sure you get what you need for some relive because the winding roads won’t definitely help.
Find the best car rental deals and explore around freely, at your own pace. My favorite way to enjoy a destination!
Getting from Antigua to Lake Atitlan on Uber or Taxi
Although taking an uber or a taxi to Lake Atitlán is an option, I wouldn’t recommend it. You’re better off getting a private transfer with the tourist shuttle companies since there are many options.
Or what you can do is take down the number of an Uber driver that you have used in Antigua and you have particularly found trustworthy and ask them for a
Of course, this could be an option for you if you end up pressed for time, need to make quick arrangements late at night, or have an emergency.
Getting from Antigua to Lake Atitlan by tour
Guatemala has some amazing singletrack. Pair that with the stunning views above Lake Atitlan, and magic will happen. Old Town Outfitters offers a three-day mountain bike tour that starts in Antigua and offers enduro-style riding to Lake Atitlán. Beats sitting on a bus, don’t you think?
Trekking Tour from Antigua to Lake Atitlan
Another amazing and unusual way to get from Antigua to Lake Atitlan is to hike there. Trek Guatemala offers a four-day hiking trip that fits the bill.
You won’t have to carry much gear (other than a day pack), as they transport your heavy bags and camping supplies for you. It sounds like an amazing way to see the country.
It may not be the most economical option for making the journey, but it will be a memorable one.
Full-day tours to Lake Atitlan from Antigua
If you have a limited time but you still want to see the beautiful Lake Atitlan you can join one of the top-rated FULL Day tours from Antigua to Lake Atitlan.
Where to stay in Lake Atitlan
You have a variety of places where to stay in Lake Atitlan and if you haven’t made up your mind yet, my post will help you plan your itinerary and Lake Atitlan Hotels. Make sure you check it out before getting there so you can secure your place in your favorite hotel.
About the Author
Hello there! This is Isabella, the author of this blog, and a cat lover. I am an Italian expatriate with a Mexican permanent Residence. After 7 years of living in Cancun, I have decided to leave my job and explore my beloved Mexico and the rest of this beautiful world, starting from South America, while sharing my travel stories and offering useful travel tips about traveling as a solo female traveler and digital nomad.